Indian, Malaysian consortium to buy Zain stake - Kharafi

Group will pay KD2 a share for 46% stake in Arab world's 3rd largest telco worth $13.7bn.

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By  Eman Goma Published  September 8, 2009

A consortium of Indian telecom firms and a Malaysian investor will buy a 46 percent stake in Kuwaiti telco Zain, an official with major shareholder Kharafi Group said on Tuesday.

The group will pay 2 dinars a share in a deal that values the stake in the Arab world's third largest telecommunications firm at about $13.7 billion.

The consortium is made up of India's Vavasi Group, and regional telecom firms Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam, as well as Malaysian businessman Mokhtar al-Bukhari.

Speaking at a news conference, the Kharafi official added the deal will take four months to complete.

The consortium meanwhile confirmed it will not be selling Zain's African assets.

Farid Arifuddin, managing director of Vavasi Telegence, which is part of India's Vavasi Group, said the new shareholders did not plan to offload the African operations. "Our plan is to consolidate networks further and roll out larger networks and cover greater markets... It's not to sell for sure," he said.
 
Zain had said it was in talks to sell its African assets - excluding Morocco and Sudan - after French media and telecoms conglomerate Vivendi broke off talks on buying the operations.

India's Reliance Communications, the country's No. 2 mobile operator, was said to be in talks for the assets. (Reuters)

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