Oman government halts sale of Omantel

Decision to stop proposed sale of 25% stake was influenced by the current economic climate

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  December 30, 2008

The Oman Ministry of Finance has halted the proposed sale of a 25% stake in Omantel due to the current economic environment affecting global capital markets.

The sale process, which was launched in July this year, was aimed at finding a strategic partner to strengthen the market position of the only fixed line service provider presently operating in the country, with 270,000 subscribers registered according to 2007 figures.

It also has nearly 1.5 million mobile subscribers, estimated to represent 60% of the market share in 2007.

In a statement issued to the press, H.E. Darwish Ismail Al Balushi, secretary general of the Ministry of Finance, said that the “ … the unprecedented market volatility and economic conditions that we are seeing globally has led to the Government taking the prudent decision to stop the sale process."

In 2005, Omantel went through a partial privatization with a 30% stake publicly listed on the Muscat Securities Market and the Oman government retaining the remaining 70%.

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