Published on May 21st, 2007 | by Babar Bhatti5
Is Warid Up For Sale?
A reader posted this question on one of my posts. There’s no official word from Warid but here’s what Reuters is reporting:
Warid Telecom, Pakistan’s third largest mobile phone operator, is in talks with several foreign firms, including Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel), Britain’s Vodafone Group and Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co. (MTC) and to sell a minority stake, industry sources said on Monday.
“Warid has been approached by several international telecom companies over the last six or eight months, including those from the Far East, the Middle East and Europe,” said a source close to the company.
“But no final decision has been taken as yet,” he said. “The picture will become clear by July or August.”
There was no word on how much the deal could be worth.
As one can see the details on this are still emerging. Warid is owned by the private Abu Dhabi Group, which also owns Bank Alfalah Ltd. and Wateen Telecom. The most likely scenairos include a minority (so that it can retain control) capital sale or issue of fresh equity. As reported on telecompk previously Warid made large capital investments and may want fresh infusion of cash. Unlike the public companies Mobilink, Telenor and Ufone, till now it has raised capital on its own.
Warid started operations in 2005 and has around 10 million customers in Pakistan — a market share of roughly 17 percent. More about Pakistan’s mobile service providers is here.
Read the rest from the Reuters.
Analysts said the only way for international telecoms companies to enter the growing Pakistani mobile sector was by acquiring stakes in existing players, as there is a moratorium on the issuance of new licences.
This year, China Mobile Communications Corp., the world’s biggest wireless carrier, agreed to buy money-losing Pakistan operator Paktel Ltd. for $284 million for its first acquisition outside its home market.
Beijing-based China Mobile bought an 89 percent stake in Paktel, now known as CM PAK, from Millicom International Cellular S.A. , a Luxembourg-based company that operates in emerging markets.
Pakistan’s mobile phone sector has been growing at a rapid pace, with the number of subscribers reaching 58.4 million at the end of April — around 35 percent of the population — from only 12.8 million in 2005.
Apart from Warid and CM PAK, the other operators in Pakistan are Mobilink, a unit of Egypt-based Orascom Telecom , Norway’s Telenor , Ufone, a subsidiary of Pakistan Telecommunication Co. Ltd. , and private Instaphone.