Zain ponders bid for 25% Omantel stake

Third largest Arab telecom company would rebrand Omantel if its bid goes through, reports say.

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By  Reuters Published  August 26, 2008

Kuwait Telecommunications Co (Zain) is considering bidding for a 25 percent stake in Oman Telecommunications Co (Omantel).

Oman authorities said last week that eight telecom operators from Europe, Asia and the region had qualified to submit initial proposals for a 25 percent stake in Omantel.

"We will look into any opportunity but we must have supervision over the management and we only want to enter the part related to the mobile license," al-Rai newspaper quoted Zain's Group Chief Communications Officer Ibrahim Adel as saying on Tuesday.

The third-largest Arab telecom company by market value will also rebrand Omantel to Zain if it bought the stake, added the paper. An official at Zain declined to comment on the report.

Oman, which owns 70 percent of Omantel, is selling the stake as competition intensifies in the region and telecom companies expand abroad to diversify their revenue streams.

A finance ministry official said last week the eight firms included Saudi Telecom Co, Qatar Telecommunications Co. and Emirates Telecommunications Corp.

Oman expects to receive proposals by the second half of September and was likely to shortlist four or five bidders to compete for the stake.

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