Omantel agrees to buy Worldcall
Karachi, June 21, 2007
Oman Telecommunications Company has agreed to buy a majority stake in Pakistan's Worldcall, a Worldcall source said
Industry sources say the deal could be worth more than $171 million.
Omantel has been planning to expand outside its home market, where it lost its mobile phone monopoly in 2005 and will lose a fixed-line monopoly this year.
As competition mounts telecom operators are seeking revenues from overseas.
Last month, Omantel chief executive Mohammed Al Wohaibi said in an interview his company was due to conclude the purchase of a majority stake in a Pakistan-based telecom operator in June, although he did not identify the company.
A Worldcall source said the deal was struck at a meeting on Tuesday and should be wrapped up soon.
'They have agreed in principal to go ahead with the acquisition, and the formalities will be completed pretty soon,' he said.
He did not give details of the size and value of the deal but industry sources said Omantel may acquire up to 76 per cent of Worldcall.
At the current share price, a 76 per cent stake in Worldcall would be worth about $171 million, though sources said the deal was likely to happen at a premium.
The Pakistani market is not new for GCC telecom operators, who have been hunting for foreign assets as competition increases at home.
Qatar Telecommunications, which operates Oman's second mobile phone operator Nawras, last month completed the purchase of a majority stake in Pakistan's Burraq Telecom.
Emirates Telecommunications bought a 26 percent stake in PTCL for $2.6 billion in 2005.Reuters