x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Qatar Telecom raises $12bn to finance bid for Maroc stake

Qatar Telecom raised US$12 billion to finance its bid for a majority stake in Maroc Telecom as it seeks to expand through acquisitions, its chief executive officer said.

Qatar Telecom raised US$12 billion to finance its bid for a majority stake in Maroc Telecom as it seeks to expand through acquisitions, its chief executive officer said in an interview.

Qatar Telecom, which recently changed its name to Ooredoo, plans to focus on buying telecommunication operators abroad after expanding holdings in companies in Kuwait, Iraq and Tunisia last year, Nasser Marafih said yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.

"We're aware that we've not done any acquisitions lately, but have increased our stake in our existing companies," he said. "There are companies that will be available for consolidation and when they become available they will pursue them."

The company is competing with the UAE's Etisalat to buy Vivendi's 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom and both made binding offers in April. The holding has a market value of about $5.6bn based on trading in Casablanca. Vivendi wants to complete the sale by October, people familiar with the matter said last month. Etisalat offered a higher price than Qatar Telecom, Reuters reported May 24, citing two people familiar with the matter it didn't identify.

Qatar Telecom submitted a "strong, compelling offer" and raised the necessary financing, Mr Marafih said. "We still believe we have a strong chance to win this bid."

Etisalat sought $8bn of loans to back its bid, two people with knowledge of the deal said last month.

Qatar Telecom plans to bid for a licence in Myanmar next month because it may be "one of the last untapped markets." The country's mobile phone penetration is about 5 per cent, Mr Marafih said.

'It's a very good opportunity in Southeast Asia,'' he said. "In terms of financing, we have the capability to do that."

 

* Reuters