Published on February 6th, 2010 | by Arsalan Mir11
Warid Denies Sellout of Stakes
Earlier this week, The National, a news paper from Abu Dhabi published a story about Abu Dhabi Groups plans to sell controlling stakes of Warid Telecom to any potential buyer. Below are the excerpts from the news item.
“Every operator in Pakistan is looking for consolidation,” said Bashir Tahir, the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Group. “We are talking to every operator and we know they are also talking to each other.”
Mr Tahir said he had been negotiating with Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation (PTCL), the country’s largest telecoms company, and Telenor, the incumbent operator in Norway that owns a subsidiary in Pakistan. “[PTCL] has shown keen interest in Warid Telecom,” he said. “We are talking with them and I’d be happy to invest with them, but the bases have to be clear.”
“Whenever a deal happens, the operator will get a big lead on the others,” said Ali Tahir, the group chief commercial officer of Warid Telecom.
“We’d rather have a slice of the bigger pie.” Pakistan has more than 97.6 million mobile phone subscribers and a penetration rate of 59.03 per cent, figures from the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority showed. It is forecast to grow to 130.6 million subscribers by 2013, according to IE Market Research. The industry generated revenues of 212.42bn Pakistani rupees (Dh9.18bn) in 2008, while the monthly average revenue per user rate is about 185 rupees, the regulator said. Ali Tahir, the son of Bashir Tahir, said the economic and political situation in Pakistan over the past two years had made it difficult to grow Warid Telecom.
Last night, as before on the speculated merger with telenor, WaridTel denies sellout of stakes. In an official press statement found on their website, Bashir Tahir denies all statements published earlier.
Recently there have been misplaced news items in certain section of the press that Warid Telecom Pakistan may be up for sale because of the shrinking interest of the sponsors relating to the market conditions in Pakistan. Warid telecom Pakistan categorically and unequivocally denies such reports and impressions. Warid Telecom Pakistan is not being sold off rather is on course with its expansion plans with the continuing focused view to extend quality services to its loyal customers to whom it is deeply grateful. Warid Telecom Pakistan also extends sincere thanks to its business partners for their support and professional contribution.
Bashir A. Tahir
Chief Executive Officer
Warid Telecom International
The same CEO denying the sellout is being quoted by the The National to be in talks with PTCL and Telenor.
It also merits mentioning here that Warid has recently sold a 51 per cent stake in its two largest African networks to India’s Essar, and 70 per cent of its Bangladeshi network to Bharti Airtel.