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Etisalat enters into Indian telecom market

Acquires 45% stake in Swan Telecom in a deal worth $900 million

Etisalat has acquired a 45% stake in India’s Swan Telecom in a deal worth $900 million as part of the company’s expansion plans.

Scheduled to start operations in the April-June quarter of 2009, Swan Telecom is licensed to provide mobile telephone services in 13 areas in India.

"As of today, we have got spectrum in 10 circles. We will be launching our first operation in the first quarter of next financial year," Shahid Balwa, MD of Swan Telecom told Reuters. India's financial year runs from April to March. Balwa added that the spectrum includes the country's capital, New Delhi.

The remaining 55% of Swan Telecom’s shares are owned by several entities, including Swan’s primary promoter, the Dynamix Balwas Group, a Mumbai-based real estate and hospitality business group.

“Our entry in India, one of the largest and fastest growing mobile markets in the world today, marks an acceleration of our expansion strategy and brings to us an opportunity which matches the scale of our ambitions,” commented Mohammad Hassan Omran, chairman of Etisalat.

Earlier in April, Etisalat stated that it could spend up to $4 billion on an acquisition or licence in India.

In a company statement, Etisalat cautioned that the transaction is subject to certain closing conditions.

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