Bahrain telecom firm looks at Indian market

May 22nd, 2008 - 5:55 pm ICT by admin  


Dubai, May 22 (IANS) Bahraini telecom operator Batelco plans to enter the Indian market in the course of its $4-billion overseas acquisition plans. “India is expensive, but gives you potential for significant growth because of its huge population,” the Gulf Daily News quoted Batelco chief executive Peter Kaliaropoulus as saying.

He said that the company was planning at least one acquisition this year as it has $2 billion on its balance sheet. The rest, he said, could be borrowed.

Batelco’s head of mergers and acquisitions Ghassan Ali Murad said the company was also in talks with African companies.

“We are in exploratory discussions with a number of companies that have pan-African platform operations,” he said.

Established in 1981, Batelco’s major shareholders include the Bahraini government, quasi-government institutions, financial and commercial organisations, and private Bahraini and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) investors.

These parties together hold 80 percent of Batelco, while British firm Cable and Wireless holds the remaining 20 percent.

As of now, the company has around 3.3 million mobile subscribers and has operations in Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait and Egypt apart from Bahrain.

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