Iran telecom firm seeks to sell stake
Tehran, December 8, 2008
A Turkish delegation is expected to visit Iran shortly to discuss the possible purchase of a stake in the Iran's state-owned telecommunications firm, an Iranian official said.
Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) head of public relations office Davoud Zareian said delegations from Russia, China and Indonesia had already come to the country for talks about buying shares in the company.
He did not name the parties that have shown interest in TCI, which provides all of Iran's landlines and also operates a mobile phone network.
Foreign companies are typically wary of investment in Iran due to a dispute with the West over its nuclear activities.
'It is predicted that in the near future a Turkish delegation will travel to Iran to examine the possibility of buying shares in the company,' Zareian said.
Tehran Stock Exchange head Ali Rahmani said a stake in TCI would be put up for sale in the current Iranian year, which ends on March 20.
Rahmani said the size of the holding to be offered to strategic investors had not yet been fixed but that it was likely to be around 49 per cent.
This would require any foreign firm bidding for the stake to team up with an Iranian entity as a 35pc limit has been set for non-Iranians. The state will keep 20pc ownership.
'There is the possibility that Iranian companies would enter into partnership with foreign parties and purchase the company's telecommunication shares on a joint basis,' Zareian said.
Rahmani said South Africa's MTN Group, sub-Saharan Africa's biggest mobile operator, was among those interested in TCI.