x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Etisalat buys Qtel stake for $18.7m

Etisalat has bought Qatar Telecom shares worth Dh69 million in a rights issue completed by the Qatari operator.

Etisalat has bought Qatar Telecom (Qtel) shares worth Dh69 million (US$18.7m) in a rights issue completed by the Qatari operator.

The UAE-based telecommunications firmsubscribed to the shares at a price of 75 Qatari riyals each, it said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Qtel said on Monday that it had completed a rights issue worth 6.8 billion Qatari riyals (Dh6.8bn), which was fully subscribed.

Part of the proceeds would be used to refinance existing debt, the operator said. Qtel is listed in Doha and Abu Dhabi. Before its latest purchase, Etisalat had held a 1 per cent share in Qtel since 1998.

Etisalat has pursued aggressive overseas expansion in recent years and is present in 17 markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It reported a 21 per cent growth in its overseas revenue in the first quarter from the same period last year.

However, Etisalat said this month that it was considering divesting or consolidating some of its foreign operations.

The company has faced several setbacks in its international ventures.

Last year, it aborted a $12bn bid for a controlling stake in the regional operator Zain.

Etisalat's partnership in India was among several ventures whose mobile licences were revoked this year in one of India's largest corporate scandals. Etisalat entered the partnership in India after the licences in question had been issued. The company is exiting the Indian market.

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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