Qtel moves to buy out Wataniya
Middle Eastern operator Qatar Telecom (Qtel) said Thursday it has received approval from local regulator the Kuwait Capital Markets Authority to buy what amounts to a 47.5 per cent stake in Kuwait-based telco Wataniya for $ 2.2bn. The move would give Qtel, which already owns 52.5 per cent of the firm, complete ownership.
Commenting on the offer, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, chairman of the Qtel group said: “Wataniya Telecom has enjoyed significant growth over the course of the last few years. However, in line with the increasing maturity of the markets in which it operates, the company’s investment profile is changing. Increased competition and pressures on the industry from new entrants as well as incumbents will most likely erode value over time and require increasingly dynamic responses.”
In June, Qtel also moved to double its stake in Iraqi operator Asiacell to 60 per cent for $ 1.47bn.
Wataniya is about to embark on a major network investment program in its main markets. It recently acquired a 3G and fixed license in Tunisiana and will make substantial investments in data networks in Kuwait and Algeria.