Etisalat denies signing MoU with Korek Telecom
Etisalat denies signing MoU regarding acquisition of Iraqi telco but fails to rule out chances of sealing a deal.
Etisalat has rebuffed recent media reports claiming that it had signed a deal to acquire a majority stake in Iraqi telco Korek Telecom.
Salem Ali Al Sharhan, Etisalat's group chief financial officer, said in a statement on the Abu Dhabi bourse that the operator "did not sign any MoU" in relation to Korek, but made no comment as to whether the two companies remain in talks.
Etisalat made the clarification following a report in Arabic daily al-Bayan last week that claimed Etisalat and Korek had signed a memorandum of understanding regarding a deal.
Etisalat has previously made clear its intention to enter the Iraqi market. Speaking at the Iraq Telecoms event in London late last year, Dr Hameed Akrawi , deputy CEO, Korek Telecom, said that any tie-up between the two telcos would see the operator run as a joint venture, with Korek looking to use Etisalat's funds and management support to help it compete with the other operators in Iraq.
With an overall penetration of some 66%, Iraqi mobile subscribers are served by three national GSM operators: market leader Zain, which has just over 10 million subscribers, Qtel-backed Asiacell with 7 million subscribers and Korek, which currently has 2.4 million, according to research firm Informa Telecom and Media.