Etisalat invests $18.7m in Qtel Group

UAE telco increases its investment in Qatar's incumbent operator
Etisalat has invested $18.7 million in Qtel Group.
Etisalat has invested $18.7 million in Qtel Group.

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UAE telco Etisalat has bought $18.7 million worth of shares in Qtel, Qatar’s incumbent operator, at QR75 ($20) per share. Etisalat made the investment by taking part in Qtel’s recent rights issue.

Qtel announced in March that it had approved a plan to increase its share capital to QAR 5 billion ($1.37bn) through a 40% rights issue at a price of QAR 75 per share. Qtel said that it planned to raise QAR 6.9 billion from the rights issue.

Etisalat, which has owned 1% of Qtel since 1998, announced its new investment in a statement posted on Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange website.

“On Thursday May 24 2012, Etisalat subscribed to the rights issue of Qtel at QR75 per share in return for a total consideration of Dhs69m ($18.8m),” the telco said.

Etisalat has sought to diversify its portfolio in the past few years as it faces increasing competition from the UAE’s second operator, Du, in its home market. It now has a presence in 17 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Last year, Etisalat made an unsuccessful bid to acquire a controlling stake in Kuwait’s Zain Group for some $12 billion.

Speaking at a telecoms event in Dubai in May, Etisalat Group’s CEO, Ahmad Julfar, said that the telco “continued to revise its strategy” and focus on its portfolio.

“We have a very good portfolio in very good markets. Within this portfolio we have a few markets which we are revisiting: should we stay in this market or should we consolidate or should we divest,” he said. “So the main focus is to refocus on the existing portfolio and that will be on growth opportunities, innovation as well as efficiency.”

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