Emirates Telecommunications Corporationannounced on 21 June the acquisition of a 26 per cent stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PCTL). The Privatisation Commission, which was set up by Islamabad to oversee the sell-off, selected Etisalat ahead of seven international prequalifiers including Saudi Telecomand Saudi Oger(MEED 20:5:05).

Etisalat’s offer of $2,570 million was about 40 per cent more than the next bid from Hong Kong-based China Mobile Communications. The deal will be 25 per cent financed through equity, 75 per cent through borrowing, and with Dubai Islamic Bankproviding 10 per cent of the equity and 10 per cent of the debt component.

An Etisalat-led consortium has also been prequalified to acquire a 55 per cent stake in Turkey’s state-owned mobile firm Turk Telekom. The other consortia bidders include Turkey’s Koc Holdingwith the US’ Carlyle Group, Saudi Arabia’s Oger Telecom and the local Turkcell.

The Pakistan move is Etisalat’s latest venture abroad. The company already owns 9 per cent of Sudan Telecommunications Company (Sudatel)and has stakes in Qatar Telecom, Zanzibar’s Zanteland West African operator Atlantique Telecom (AT). In 2004, its Ettihad Etisalatconsortium was awarded the second GSM licence in Saudi Arabia.