Batelco enters the Indian mobile communications market
Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) Chairman Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa announced 10 May 2009, that Batelco has completed formalities to finalise the acquisition of a 49% shareholding in S Tel Limited (S Tel) for $225 million.
“Conditions precedent have been satisfied and Batelco has completed the first phase of its investment in S Tel. Batelco now holds a 36.9% share of S Tel and in the coming months Batelco’s shareholding will increase to 49%,” commented Batelco’s Group CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos.
S Tel has licenses to operate in 6 Indian states – Bihar, Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, North East and Assam. S Tel was established to gain entry into the rapidly growing mobile markets of North East and North West India. With the population in these areas around the 230 million mark and mobile penetration less than 20%, S Tel aspires to grow rapidly, in response to the needs of these largely untapped areas, by focusing on delivering innovation and value.
Mr. Kaliaropoulos stated that the investment in S Tel will provide significant growth opportunities for Batelco in the expanding Indian market, the third largest and fastest growing mobile market in the world, where mobile penetration is currently growing at more than 11 million subscribers a month.
“We are delighted to have completed the first stage of this acquisition which enhances our growth and expansion strategy in wireless and broadband markets and advances our long term plans to diversify the Group’s geographical footprint,” said Shaikh Hamad.
“Our main priority now is to assist S Tel to accelerate the roll-out of its network infrastructure in readiness for the launch of its mobile telecommunication services in the fourth quarter of 2009,” added Mr. Kaliaropoulos.
S Tel’s CEO Shamik Das stated that he welcomed Batelco, an experienced operator in the mobile telephony market, to take part in development and growth opportunities in one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world.
“S Tel will benefit operationally by leveraging synergies and know-how with Batelco which will be a significant shareholder in our company. Together we will play a significant role in shaping the future Indian telecommunication landscape especially in rural areas,” he said.
Batelco Chairman Shaikh Hamad stated that Batelco plans to continue its regional expansion drive through targeted acquisitions of other operators and licences in MEA, India and Asia Pac, while maintaining its market leadership in Bahrain, striving always to deliver better value and innovation to its customers and supporting many community and humanitarian initiatives in Bahrain.
“Our Bahrain operation is and will always be the heart and mind of the Batelco Group. However, we also have to tap into regional markets for growth and diversification which will in turn strengthen our market leadership in Bahrain,” Group CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos added.
Batelco, the leading integrated telecommunications company in Bahrain, with the addition of the India shareholding, now has operations in 7 markets across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. In 2008 Batelco Group grew its revenues to USD $891 million, recorded a profit of $276 million and paid a record dividend to its shareholders of $191m.