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Etisalat looking at double telco offer

UAE operator Etisalat is weighing up bids for two regional telcos, Algerie Telecom and Kuwait's Wataniya, according to reports by news agencies.

UAE operator Etisalat is weighing up bids for two regional telcos, Algerie Telecom and Kuwait's Wataniya, according to reports by news agencies.

The UAE incumbent telco operator has expressed its interest in bidding for state-run Algerie Telecom, which the Algerian government is expected to partially privatise this year, according to a report by Reuters.

"We will pay north of US$2 billion to US$3 billion, but it will depend on many conditions," Etisalat chairman Mohammad Hassan Omran said whilst attending the recent Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland, according to Reuters.

The operator is also said to be looking at Kuwaiti telco Wataniya, according to a report by Bloomberg.

"We've looked at it several times but have made no decision yet," Omran said, adding: "If we see a way to add value, we'll bid for it."

Omran went on to state that Algeria was the main attraction for the operator at present. "Algeria is a large Arab country and that's really where we're focusing at the moment," he told Bloomberg.

Omran added that the operator had also considered entering the Indian market, but had decided the valuations of Indian telecom companies were too high.

Etisalat is seeking to broaden its investments as it loses its monopoly in the UAE with the arrival of new operator du, which is targeting a 30% share of the UAE market.

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