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MTC weighs up bid for Paktel

Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Group (MTC) is weighing up plans to place a bid for Pakistan cellular company Paktel, it said in a statement.

MTC expressed its “initial desire to present a bid to buy out Paktel” in a statement on the Kuwait Stock Exchange web site.

Paktel is Pakistan’s fifth-largest mobile operator, and had approximately 1.5 million subscribers as of the end of September 2006.

The firm currently belongs to Luxembourg-based firm Millicom International Cellular, which had previously stated it plans to pull out of Pakistan because of difficulties operating in the market.

Millicom announced in November its intention to end its 16-year presence in Pakistan due to various problems operating in the market, which are understood to include the refusal of Pakistani authorities to delay payment of a US$29million licence instalment.

Other operators investing in Pakistan include UAE incumbent telco operator Etisalat, which took a 26% stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company in March last year.

MTC has been on a massive expansion drive since 2003, growing from a one-country operator in Kuwait to a 20-country telecoms giant with operations in the Middle East and Africa.

To fund its ongoing expansion, the company last month took out a US$1.2 billion Islamic loan.

Paktel is Pakistan’s fifth-largest operator. MTC has been on a massive expansion drive since 2003. MTC took US$1.2bn loan to fund growth.