Wataniya Telecom denies it is for sale

Reports in Europe suggest that the Kuwait-based telecoms operator will become an acquisition target.

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By  Rob Corder and Tawanda Chihota Published  February 8, 2007

Wataniya Telecom, which has a foothold in Iraq, Tunisia, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Algeria, as well as its home country of Kuwait, is denying reports in Europe that the company is about to be acquired.

The company told ArabianBusiness.com's sister magazine, CommsMEA, that it was not in talks with any potential suitors.

However, speculation is certain to continue for a business that, in the multi-billion dollar world of telecommunications, looks like a good buy.

As well as its attractive footprint in growth markets, the operator has a significant free float (approximately 52%), and a relatively small market capitalisation (approximately US$4 billion).

Reports in Europe earlier this week suggested that a significant stake in Wataniya could soon be put up for sale, with Morgan Stanley reported as one of the banks set to manage a block sale.

"There is no story there," the Wataniya International spokeperson commented. "What is a story is that next week at 3GSM in Barcelona, Wataniya will announce one of the largest credit deals by a telecoms operator in the region, supported by global and regional banks alike," the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said the financing deal, which would see BNP Paribas arranging the syndication, is evidence of Wataniya's intention to continue along an independent path, which may involve further mergers and acquisition activity.

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