Qtel increases stake in Wataniya

Qtel increases stake in Wataniya

Qatar Telecom has doubled its stake in Kuwait’s second largest operator Wataniya to 92.1%.

Qtel will pay approximately $1.8 billion to increase its stake in Wataniya, which presently stands at 52.5%.

The deal gives Qtel increased control in Wataniya’s high growth market subsidiaries of Algeria and Tunisia, and complements the 16 markets it operates in across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Wataniya owns a 71% stake in Algeria’s Nedjma and a 75% stake in Tunisia’s Tunisiana, with revenue up in both companies by 33% and 116% respectively.

Analysts view both subsidiaries as major growth markets for the Qatari company, and Wataniya’s high growth in Kuwait is also a further benefit of increasing its stake.

Wataniya has a 39% share of Kuwaiti mobile subscribers, competing with Zain which has 41%. STC’s emerging Viva operator accounts for 20%.

Kuwait is one of the few markets in the world does not have a telecoms regulator, and its watchdog, the ministry of communications, owns and operates the fixed line infrastructure.

Fixed line infrastructure in Kuwait has been touted for privatisation in the past and it could be a further opportunity for Qtel to expand its reach in the country.