Egypt’s move will make the financial operations of the Middle East’s second-largest operator more transparent, helping investors understand more about the risks facing the multinational as it expands its operations outside its home market.

“When the first year is completed in May, their numbers must be produced quarterly by the regulator,” says Tarek Kamel, Egypt’s Communications & IT Minister.

The telecoms regulator is able to enforce the disclosure regime because Etisalat has to supply it with quarterly financial results as a condition of a third mobile phone licence, which it won in 2006.

Regulators in other countries could be encouraged to follow Egypt’s example.

Etisalat is the UAE’s largest quoted company with a market capitalisation of $32.6bn, but it has always declined to disclose the financial performance of its operations in different countries.

Alex Shalaby, chief executive officer of Egypt’s largest mobile phone operator, Mobinil, called for Etisalat to reveal the numbers of its Egyptian subsidiary in January (MEED 31.01.08).

Both Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt, the country’s second-largest operator, disclose their results.

Etisalat’s central finance department in the UAE says it has not yet received confirmation from Cairo of the disclosure requirements. The company’s Egyptian subsidiary, Etisalat Misr, could not be reached for comment.