C&W offers its stake in Batelco

03 March 2006

The UK's Cable & Wireless (C&W) has put up for sale its 20 per cent shareholding in Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco). Preliminary interest is understood to have been shown chiefly by other regional telecoms operators.

Manama owns a 55 per cent stake in Batelco; the remaining 25 per cent is traded on the Bahrain Stock Exchange. Batelco officials denied reports in the local media that C&W plans to sell its holding back to the government. The UK firm - which also withdrew from TeleYemen in 2003 - is divesting its stake as part of a wider restructuring.

Batelco's net profits in 2005 increased by 6 per cent to BD 87.5 million ($230.3 million). The board recently approved a proposal to raise paid-up capital to BD 120 million ($315.8 million) from BD 100 million ($263.2 million). Having spent the past few years dealing with the introduction of competition into the domestic market, the operator is now planning to focus its attention on overseas expansion (Telecoms, MEED Special Report, 10:2:06, pages 36-37).


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