Kuwait's Zain eyes $5bn for buys by 2011 - paper

Telco eyes expansion in Asia, MENA region and is currently in talks to move into Syria - CEO.

  • E-Mail
By  Rania El Gamal Published  April 12, 2009

Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain) plans to spend up to $5bn on new acquisitions by 2011, its chief executive was quoted on Sunday as saying.

Zain wants to expand in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and is currently in talks to move into the Syrian market, Saad Al Barrak told Asharq Alawsat.

"We have earmarked until 2011 what we initially estimated at $5bn for new acquisitions," he told the paper.

Zain said last year it was interested in buying a controlling stake in Syria's largest mobile phone provider, Syriatel Mobile Telecom.

"For Syria there are ongoing negotiations...and we will have a presence (there) in the near future," Barrak said, without giving more details.

Zain, which operates in 24 countries, has been spending billions of dollars to expand abroad as competition heats up at home where VIVA, an affiliate of Saudi Telecom, has recently started operations.

Barrak reiterated the first and second quarters would be tough, given the global recession, but Zain still aims to hit its earlier target of a 30 percent rise in net profit in 2009.

The company was not immediately available to comment.

Earlier this month, Barrak was quoted as saying he expects first-quarter net profit to be close to its year-ago level of 73.3 million dinars.

In November, Barrak said Zain planned to make four to five acquisitions worth up to $4bn before 2010. (Getty Images)

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code