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Vietnamese court Etisalat for mobile IPO

Delegation in Abu Dhabi for talks after Vietnam announces sale of operator.

UAE telecom operator Etisalat is looking at Vietnam for its next major international expansion, with the company hosting a delegation of Vietnamese officials at its Abu Dhabi headquarters this week, the UAE daily The National reported on Wednesday.

On Monday, the Vietnamese government named investment bank Credit Suisse as lead advisers on the upcoming initial public offering (IPO) of Mobifone, the country’s second-largest operator, the paper reported.

And on Tuesday, senior members of the country’s government, including national and municipal leaders, and its ambassador to the UAE, met Etisalat management, including the head of corporate affairs, Nasser bin Obood, it added.

Etisalat released only a short statement announcing the visit and declined further comment, but its chairman, Mohammed Omran, has previously said the company hopes to enter the booming South East Asian nation, which has a half dozen mobile phone companies and more than 85 million people, the paper said.

To date, Etisalat has invested in the two Asian markets of Pakistan and Indonesia. It has said it is also interested in India, where the government a number of new mobile licences issued earlier this year.