Du eyes 30% market share a year ahead of schedule

UAE telco to tap equity or debt markets to finance expansion, CEO says.

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By  Reuters Published  December 4, 2007

Dubai-based telecom operator Du said on Tuesday it expected to get near to a 30% market share by end-2008, a year ahead of schedule, and will make a decision on its financing needs by year-end.

The second mobile operator in the UAE said in November it had reached one million customers after nine months of operations, accounting for about 15% of the market.

"We are not only on track, but we expect to beat the initial plan we have set as our target," chief executive Osman Sultan told Reuters. "We expect to be close to the 30% market share by the end of 2008."

Sultan said Du planned to tap either the equity markets or debt markets to help finance its expansion.

"The board of directors is looking as we speak at the different options for the funding necessary to meet our accelerated growth," Sultan said, declining to say how much the operator would need or what type of financing it would opt for.

"Before the end of the year some kind of decision will be taken," Sultan said.

Two of du's shareholders, Mubadala Development Company and Tecom Investments, have expanded into the telecommunications sector overseas this year.

"With our two reference shareholders having some international interest in telecommunications, obviously there will be some synergies with Du later on, but when and what format... that is a decision for the board," Sultan said, declining to be more specific.

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