Batelco says no plan to re-enter India market
Manama, January 18, 2013
India remains an attractive telecom market due to its size, growth potential and opportunity to launch many innovative services. That is the view of Bahrain telecom leader Batelco.
But yesterday the company denied rumours that it was about to re-enter the Indian market, which appeared on online news sites, describing it as misleading.
"We do not exclude any growth market from our investment horizon," a spokesman for the Bahrain operator said.
"Batelco is interested in investing in existing operators and not start-up companies and we have no plans to participate in forthcoming auctions to acquire a mobile licence and establish a new, start-up telecommunications company in India."
"Potential opportunities in India remain on our agenda and Batelco is interested in investing in existing operators," said Batelco chief executive Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa.
"As Batelco is not interested in start-up companies, we have no plans to participate in the forthcoming auctions to acquire a mobile licence and establish a new start-up telecommunications company."
Batelco sold its 42.7 per cent stake in the mobile operator S-Tel for about $175 million in February to its Indian partner Sky City Foundation.
It had invested $225m in the Indian operator when it entered the country in 2009.
Batelco is currently suing Stel for $185 million for failing to adhere to a settlement agreement over their joint venture.
On Tuesday, Batelco announced that its shareholders had voted to approve its acquisition of the various companies from Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) that comprise its Monaco and Islands Division in a deal worth about $1 billion.
Batelco has received the requisite majority shareholder approval of its proposed acquisition of the entire CWC interest in the Maldives, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, the Seychelles, South Atlantic and Diego Garcia as well as a 25pc shareholding in Compagnie Monagesque de Communications SAM (CMC), which holds CWC's 55pc interest in Monaco Telecom.
"The board of Batelco Group is delighted that our shareholders have shown support for this transformative acquisition, which will see the company emerge as an international telecommunications company of reference," said Batelco Group chairman Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.
"We have been pursuing a strategy of diversification and this acquisition will greatly further our efforts to both broaden our geographic footprint as well as add important new revenue streams," he remarked.
"We are confident that we will be able to enhance value for our shareholders through the benefits derived from greater diversification, added scale and expertise, and the combined market leadership Batelco and the companies we are acquiring already enjoy in their respective markets - which together total 17 countries with strategic clusters in the Middle East, Monaco, Indian Ocean, Channel Islands and the South Atlantic," he added.-TradeArabia News Service