Copying and distributing are prohibited without permission of the publisher
Qtel plans increasing stake in Asiacell
20 January 2012
Qatar’s Qtel considers buying MerchantBridge’s 19% interest in Iraqi operator Asiacell to take stake to 49%
Qatar Telecom is planning to purchase its private equity partner MerchantBridge’s 19% stake in Iraqi operator Asiacell. The Qatari firm, which already owns 30% of Asiacell, hopes to complete the buyout before an IPO of the shares, according to Reuters.
Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse are assisting Qtel and MerchantBridge respectively over the matter. Asiacell is gearing up for an IPO of its shares in Iraq, a country that generated 18% of Qtel's revenue for the first nine months of 2011, Reuters reports.
The IPO is a condition of the 15-year mobile licence Asiacell obtained in 2007, along with Zain Iraq and France Telecom-owned Korek. The operators are each required to sell 25% of their shares to the public, according to the licence agreements.
According to Reuters, the companies have already missed the August 2011 deadline, which they attributed to the under-preparedness of the Iraqi exchange. GTB
Further reading from Global Telecoms Business:
Ericsson to upgrade Zain Iraq's network 24 Nov 2011
Iraq to auction fourth mobile licence in 2012 28 Oct 2011
Iraqi operators 'to launch IPOs in 2012' 10 Oct 2011
Orange to buy stake in Iraq's Korek 15 Mar 2011