Qtel to acquire remaining NMTC stake

Qatari incumbent Qtel has made an offer to take full ownership of Kuwaiti operator National Mobile Telecommunications Company (NMTC).

The 47.5% stake is estimated to be worth $1.9 billion based on the company’s market value. Qtel purchased a 51% stake in NMTC in 2007 for $3.7 billion.

Qtel has submitted the proposal to Kuwait’s market regulator, which if approved, could lead to an all share offer for NMTC. Shares in the company have been suspended while the regulator considers the proposal.

The Qatari operator said that the proposed stake increase is in line with its strategy to simplify the group structure while providing an attractive offer to minority shareholders.

NMTC, which operates under the Wataniya brand, is already 52.5% owned by Qtel and has operations in countries including Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

The company’s CEO, Scott Gegenheimer, resigned earlier this month and was replaced by acting CEO Abdulaziz Fakhroo, a former executive director at Qtel Qatar and member of the company’s executive management team.

Since its inception as a local incumbent in 1998, Qtel has expanded across the Middle East and more than 80% of the group’s revenues are now generated outside Qatar. The company has adopted a strategy of acquiring minority stakes in foreign companies before converting them into controlling stakes after a few years.

Earlier this month the company announced that it had reached an agreement to double its stake in Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell to 60% at a cost of $1.47 billion.

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