Qatar Telecom announced today that it has reached agreements to increase its shareholding in Asiacell, the Iraqi mobile operator.
Qtel has agreed to increase its shareholding to 60% for a total consideration of USD 1.47 billion. Qtel will initially increase its ownership in Asiacell to only 53.9%, the further increase in shareholding is subject to Iraqi Government and Regulatory Authority approval. The transaction will be financed from existing funds.
His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, Chairman of the Qtel Group commented: “Asiacell is an outstanding business and has seen excellent performance year on year. The Iraqi market is about to enter a period of rapid broadband and data growth and Asiacell is well positioned to meet the demands of the population for high quality, reliable and affordable voice and data services.
This acquisition is in line with our long term strategy of active portfolio development through which we seek to increase our ownership in companies with significant potential. Qtel is committed to reinforcing Asiacell’s position as the leading communications company in Iraq and will be investing significantly into this vision.
Asiacell has already delivered significant value to its shareholders and is expected to continue to do so. We remain committed to sharing this successful and important company with the Iraqi public and we continue to work hard on preparing for Asiacell’s landmark IPO planned for later this year.
Asiacell is a very important company for the Qtel Group. We continue to expand our regional footprint and diversification of our revenue sources. More than 80% of Qtel Group’s revenues are now generated outside Qatar.”
Mr. Faruk Rosool, Chairman of the Asiacell Board and pioneer of GSM in Iraq commented: “I am proud of Asiacell’s achievements to date and the part it has played in enhancing the lives of all Iraqis. We have created a company that has consistently delivered strong results and that is looking forward to more growth in the future, especially in data and broadband services.
Our relationship with the Qtel Group has been very successful for us and they have helped us achieve the market position that we now enjoy. They are regional leaders in communications and will invest with us in the next stage in our journey as we strive to be simply the best communications company in Iraq.
I am committed to the future of Asiacell and I will stay involved with the business as a shareholder and as Chairman going forward”
Qtel and Asiacell will work with the Iraqi authorities to finalise the transaction.