PTCL bids for Warid Telecom

02 October 2013 | Kavit Majithia

Pakistani operator Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) has submitted an official takeover bid for rival operator Warid Telecom.

The company has made a bid to acquire a 100% stake in the company, and the offer is valid for 30 days.

According to Reuters, a potential sale of the company would fetch approximately $1 billion, with the sector deemed ripe for consolidation due to Pakistan’s troubled economy and stiff competition for lower profit margins.

PTCL, which is owned by Etisalat, will become the second-largest player in the market by subscribers if it completes the acquisition of Warid, but there are rumours that China Mobile will also enter the bidding.

Etisalat’s attempt to acquire Warid could prove difficult, given a long-running dispute between the UAE-based company and the Pakistani government.

Etisalat indirectly owns approximately 23% in PTCL, after it paid $2.6 billion to take 90% in a consortium that owns 26% in Pakistan’s former monopoly landline operator.

Reuters reports that Etisalat still owes $800 million, and a dispute surrounds the deal.

3G licences are yet to be awarded in the country, but Pakistan is seen as an attractive long-term market, considering only 70% of its 179 million population have a mobile subscription.