Batelco Group sells its stake in STel India

Sale follows Indian court's decision to revoke the licence
Batelco CEO, Shaikh Khalifa, said that Batelco remained interested in the Indian market, despite the sale of STel.
Batelco CEO, Shaikh Khalifa, said that Batelco remained interested in the Indian market, despite the sale of STel.

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Batelco Group has sold its 42.7% stake in its Indian operation, STel.

Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa, CEO, Batelco Group, said that the his company had entered into a binding agreement to sell its 42.7% equity in STel for BD 65.8 million ($174.5m), to its Indian partner, Sky City Foundation Limited. Completion of the sale is expected by Q4, 2012. Batelco sold the stake BMIC Limited, a 100% Batelco owned subsidiary company.

The sale follows closely from India's Federal Court's decision to revoke all 122 of the 2G licences that were awarded in the country in 2008.

“BMIC had decided in April 2011 to actively pursue the sale of this investment. Batelco Group had disclosed in its financial accounts for the period ending 30 June 2011, that BMIC’s investment in STel was presented as an asset held-for-sale,” Batelco said in a statement.

BMIC acquired 42.7% equity in STel via two transactions in May and June 2009 for a total of $174.5 million.

“As Batelco continues to grow and diversify its operations, we remain interested in other investment opportunities for the Batelco Group, that will enable us to participate in the Indian telecom market. We are actively exploring all options in this respect over the coming months,” Sheikh Mohamed added.

UAE telco Etisalat Group was also hit by the decision of India's Federal Court. Etisalat said that losses stemming from its Indian operation, Etisalat DB, led to a write-down of $277.7 million from its net profit for 2011.

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