Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Etisalat drops Syria licence bid

Etisalat has dropped its bid for Syria's third mobile license, citing unfavourable terms and conditions.

Etisalat has dropped its bid for Syria's third mobile licence, less than two weeks after the collapse of the UAE company's US$12 billion (Dh44.07bn) takeover of its Kuwaiti rival Zain.

The company qualified to bid for the Syria licence last year but has dropped out of the process, in what is the latest setback to its international expansion plans.

"We hoped that the terms and conditions for the licence would have been more attractive," said Ahmed bin Ali, the spokesman for Etisalat.

The company did not give further details. However, it was reported that Etisalat was unhappy with a 25 per cent revenue share demanded by Syria, according to MEED, the Middle East Economic Digest. The bid would have been worth a minimum of $122 million, MEED said.

Irfan Ellam, a telecoms analyst with Al Mal Capital, said the Syria market was attractive because of its large population and low mobile penetration. "There's a lot of scope for growth there."

Mr Ellam said, however, that Etisalat's decision not to bid could have been "wise".

"If someone is taking 25 per cent off the top, it really makes it difficult to make money in those kinds of markets - especially given that Etisalat's income margin in 2010 was 24 per cent," he said.

"It brings into question the financial viability of the investment. If it's not going to be profitable, then it's not a missed opportunity."

France Telecom, Qatar Telecom, Turkcell and Saudi Telecom have also qualified to bid for the Syria licence.

"It gives the other buyers reason to go back to their spreadsheets. This may cause the other bidders to reconsider their offers," said Mr Ellam.

Etisalat announced this month that its offer for Zain had collapsed, with its offer of 1.7 dinars a share was "no longer viable".

Mr Ellam said the failed Syria bid did "raise some cause for concern" over Etisalat's regional expansion. The company was looking at licences in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon - with only the latter two countries now viable options.

"They could look more towards Asia, South East Asia. But again, there are limited options there," he said.



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Three generations of the Hakimi family tend to their stall Crawford Market in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

In pictures: Shopper’s delight at Crawford Market in Mumbai

Crawford Market is an old British-style covered market dealing in just about every kind of fresh food and domestic animal imaginable. Later on renamed Mahatma Jotirao Phule, the market remains popular among locals and visitors by its old name, taken from Arthur Crawford who was the first municipal commissioner of the city.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National