India's BSNL, MTNL say yet to decide on Zain deal

State-run firms say in statement they are always on lookout to explore overseas opps.

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By  Devidutta Tripathy Published  September 9, 2009

Indian telecoms Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam said on Wednesday they had not decided on whether to join a consortium that is buying a 46 percent stake in Kuwaiti telecom Zain.

The state-run firms said in a statement they were always on the lookout to explore overseas business opportunities to expand their operations.

Kuwaiti family conglomerate Kharafi Group, one of the main shareholders in Zain, said on Tuesday India's Vavasi Group and Malaysian businessman Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary were leading a consortium that would also include the Indian telecom firms.

"The consortium is led by Vavasi chaired by Mr. Farid and the Malaysian businessman Mokhtar al-Bukhary, and he is one of the biggest businessmen in Malaysia, and the entry of two Indian government firms which are MTNL and BSNL," Kharafi vice-president Bard al-Kharafi told a news conference in Kuwait on Tuesday.

In a statement to the Kuwait stock market, National Investments Co, which owned by the Kharafi Group, also said BSNL and MTNL were part of a consortium that would pay 2 dinars a share for the Zain stake. (Reuters)

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