Korek Telecom, an Iraqi telecommunications operator, is in the "final stages" of selling a stake to France Telecom, the chief executive of Korek says.
The operator entered exclusive discussions with the French telecoms giant last month in a move that may give Korek a boost of capital it intends to go towards expanding its mobile network across Iraq.
"The only thing I can say right now is to confirm our ongoing discussions with [France Telecom]," said Humam Amara, the chief executive of Korek Telecom. "We are in the final stages and if all goes well, we should have a final decision in the next few days."
Mr Amara declined to comment on the size of the stake France Telecom was looking to buy. He had previously said the company was looking to sell a stake of between 35 and 49 per cent. Korek is valued at about US$3 billion (Dh11.01bn).
This month Stephane Richard, the chief executive of France Telecom, said the company was negotiating for Korek's stake with "a financial partner". France Telecom representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Korek became Iraq's third mobile phone operator after buying a licence from the government in 2008 for $1.25bn, and has spent an additional $900 million building a mobile network across the country.
It has about 3 million subscribers and mainly operates in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, and some areas of Baghdad and Kirkuk.
Other operators in the country include Zain Iraq, the target of a takeover bid by Etisalat, and Asiacell, partly owned by Qatar Telecom.