Qtel plans EMIR WITH GERMAN MINISTER to double stake in Asiacell
DOHA QATAR Telecom (Qtel) will double its stake in Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell to 60 percent at the cost of $1.47 billion.
“Qtel will initially increase its ownership in Asiacell to 53.9 percent, the further increase in shareholding is subject to Iraqi government and regulatory authority approval. The transaction will be financed from existing funds,” the telecom company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Asiacell is a leading provider of mobile telecommunications services in Iraq, with 9.02 million subscribers. In 2009, it became the first mobile telecommunications provider in Iraq to achieve nationwide coverage, offering its services across all of Iraq’s 18 governorates, including the national capital.
Commenting on increasing its stake in Asiacell, Qtel Group Chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al Thani, described Asiacell as an “outstanding business” that has seen excellent performance year on year.
“The Iraqi market is about to enter a period of rapid broadband and data growth and Asiacell is well positioned to meet the demands of the population for high quality, reliable and affordable voice and data services”, he added.
He voiced Qtel’s commitment to reinforcing Asiacell’s position as the leading communications company in Iraq.
Qtel plans to invest significantly in the Asiacell and continue to work hard on preparing for the Iraqi company’s landmark IPO planned for later this year, he said.
In October last year, Asiacell appointed HSBC and Morgan Stanley to manage an initial public offering of its shares in Iraq. Asiacell was awarded a 15- year mobile licence in 2007, as were Zain’s Iraq unit and France Telecom affiliate Korek.
Asiacell paid $1.25 billion for the licence.
Under the terms of their licences, the three operators were meant to launch mandatory IPOs to offload 25 percent of their shares by the end of August 2011, but all three missed the deadline.
The Qtel group has a significant presence in the MENA region and Southeast Asia with a consolidated customer base of 84 million. It operates a portfolio of brands including Qtel, Indosat, Asiacell, Wataniya, Nawras, Nedjma and Tunisiana.
Asiacell Board Chairman Faruk Rosool said his company has consistently delivered strong results and is looking forward to more growth in the future, especially in data and broadband services.