Batelco plans major stake sale
Manama, February 25, 2008
The government plans to sell the majority, if not all of its shares in Batelco over the next three years, it has emerged.
The sale, part of the second national telecommunications plan, will enable Batelco to operate with full independence from the government and be free to make wholly commercial decisions.
The government currently holds 36.7 per cent of the shares in the telephone company through its holding company Mumtalakat.
A further 20 per cent is held by its investment vehicle Amber, while 10 per cent by the General Organisation for Social Insurance (Gosi).
The company is currently valued at about BD1.2 billion ($3.18 billion) on its traded share price, but sources said it was likely any buyer of the government stake would be prepared to pay more than that.
Industry experts added the sale was expected to attract interest from regional operators, with the UAE's Etisalat, Qatar's Q-Tel and Saudi Tele3com all possible bidders for the shares.
Orange and BT could also be interested, they said.-TradeArabia News Service