Etisalat not planning further acquisition, comfortable with Egypt unit

Reuters and Ahram Online, Monday 10 Oct 2011

Chairman says mobile services firm is yet to decide on expansion plans but is comfortable with Egyptian operations

Emirates Telecommunications Corp. has no immediate plans for foreign acquisitions, although it recently scrapped a bid to buy a rival in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates telecoms operator's chairman said on Monday.

The chairman also added that the company is "comfortable" with its Egyptian unit, despite the escalating developments in the country.

The former monopoly is active in 18 countries, yet about three-quarters of its revenues in the first half of 2011 came from domestic operations.

"At this stage we are not looking at any acquisitions," said Etisalat Chairman Mohammad Omran, speaking on the sidelines of a conference, adding Etisalat had yet to decide on whether to bid for Iraq's fourth mobile license, which is expected to be auctioned by year-end.

The Abu Dhabi-based firm scrapped a US$12 billion takeover bid for its Kuwaiti rival Zain in March.

"I don't see it at this stage", said Omran when asked if the company would revive its interest in Zain.

He added that the firm was not considering selling any of its foreign operations or to issue debt.

"We are comfortable with our assets," he said, declining to comment on Etisalat's troubled India unit.

India's DB Group is Etisalat's partner in the Indian mobile joint venture, Etisalat DB, which has been embroiled in a massive telecommunications scandal.  

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