Kuwait-based telecoms company Zain is holding a public auction of the treasury shares that it has agreed to sell to Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) on 24 August.

Omantel had earlier signed a share purchase agreement with Zain for 425.7 million treasury shares, or 9.84 per cent stake, at OM325.6m ($846m).

Omantel said it will finance the minority stake acquisition in Zain through a bridge loan facility, to be subsequently taken out through a long term loan or capital market instrument, according to local media reports.

The acquisition provides Omantel access to nine new markets that are estimated to have a total of 175 million population.

Zain Group CEO Bader Nasser al-Kharafi has said the transaction will provide the firm additional liquidity to finance investments in modern networks and digital technologies.

Zain is one of three telecoms companies that are bidding for the contract to operate the third mobile network in Oman.