Pakistan to settle Etisalat land deals in a month
Dubai, December 31, 2009
Pakistan expects to resolve land transfers linked to a deal with the UAE’s Etisalat buying a stake in Pakistan Telecommunication (PTCL) in one month's time, an official said on Thursday.
In 2006, Etisalat signed an agreement to purchase a 26 per cent stake in PTCL for $2.6 billon through Etisalat International Pakistan (EIP), but so far only $1.4 billion has been paid.
'We have agreed with Etisalat that the reaming amount will be paid once the land included in the deal which has around 3,000 properties is transferred,' Shahab Khawaja, secretary of the Pakistan's Privatization Committee told Reuters in a telephone interview.
'So far about 93 per cent of the land has been transferred and we expect to resolve the issue with reaming areas in about a month's time.'
Last week, Etisalat said that the remaining $1.2 billion will be paid in equal instalments over a period of four and a half years in consideration for 'certain corresponding deliverables by the Pakistani counterpart.'
Pakistan had set up a committee to help facilitate the transfer of the land, which is mainly located in the Punjab and Sindh provinces, said Khawaja.
'This committee was formed after the chairman of Etisalat called on the Pakistan's Prime Minister to speed up the transfer process of the land, and both parties are committed to concluding this deal.'
Etisalat, the Arab world's second-biggest telecoms firm, has faced increased competition in its home market after its monopoly was broken in 2007 by Dubai-based du.
Etisalat, operating in 18 countries, including Egypt and India, is one of a number of Gulf Arab telecom operators that have expanded overseas after losing their monopolies at home. – Reuters