India on Bahrain telecom operator’s radar

May 13th, 2008 - 5:29 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, May 13 (IANS) India figures prominently in Bahrain telecom operator Batelco’s overseas expansion plans. Stating that the Middle East does not hold much scope for the company, Batelco chief executive Peter Kaliaropoulus Tuesday said: “The big opportunities are in Africa, or India and Asia-Pacific.”

The company is planning a $4 billion overseas acquisition drive.

According to Kaliaropoulus, only the Lebanese and Syrian markets in the Middle East were worth considering.

“Really, in the rest of the Middle East, there’s nothing. There are no big opportunities,” he was quoted as saying at a press conference in Bahrain.

“The rising competition and new regulations have necessitated Batelco to look beyond the Middle Eastern markets.

“There are many factors that Batelco is keen on African and Asian Pacific markets, including the price factor. The prices in Middle East are much higher, and secondly the penetration of mobile telephony and broadband services in Africa has a huge potential of growth for another telecom player,” Kaliaropoulus said.

Regarding the $4 billion overseas acquisition bid, Kaliaropoulos said the company was in the process of finalizing the modalities with one of the leading telecom players in Africa.

He, however, did not mention the name of the company and said that the exact amount of the deal would be determined after the ongoing negotiations.

Regarding the company’s subscriber base, he said: “Batelco’s success story overseas continues. The mobile subscriber base across the group has risen to 3.5 million out of which 704,000 are in Bahrain.”

The telecom operator’s current overseas operations include Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait and Egypt.

It has also bid for a licence in Qatar.

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