Batelco eyes up $4 billion African acquisition

Financing will be a mixture of debt and equity, says CEO

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By  Derek Francis Published  May 14, 2008

Batelco is to acquire one of the leading telecom players in Africa in a deal worth around $2-4 billion, according to its chief executive.

Peter Kaliaropoulos, CEO of the Bahrain-based operator, said it was in the process of finalising the deal, but he did not say which company Batelco was acquiring. However, he did say the deal would be concluded by the fourth quarter of this year and that it would go a long way into helping Batelco offset rising competition in the Middle East.

"We have a deadline to see this deal gets through by the fourth quarter of 2008," Kaliaropoulos said. "The move, according to him, is a major step forward to transform Batelco from a local company into a global telecom player.

"The rising competition and new regulations have necessitated Batelco to look beyond the Middle Eastern markets. There are many factors that Batelco is keen on African and Asian Pacific markets including the price factor. The prices in Middle East are much higher and secondly the penetration of mobile telephony and broadband services in Africa has a huge potential of growth for another telecom player," he added.

He also said the company was in talks with leading banking and financial institutions about the acquisition and that the deal would be financed by a combination of debt and equity.

"Batelco as a leading regional telecom player has a very strong balance sheet and it will be much easier to raise a debt or equity to finance any future project in the Middle East," he said.

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