OT announced on 6 February that it has been contacted by a number of regional entities interested in investing in the company. Negotiations have started with the prospective investors regarding a possible capital increase and acquisition of existing shares. EFG-Hermesis advising OT in connection with the potential investment.

Analysts say it is likely that some of the leading Gulf telecoms companies are among the prospective investors.

The company says it has also received positive responses on extending by two-three years the maturity of its $300 million foreign debt and its bilateral local debt. It says it has paid off ahead of schedule a $30 million loan from Credit Suisse First Bostonthat was due to mature on 25 February.

OT has expanded aggressively over the past two years. Major investments include a $737 million GSM licence in Algeria. The Algerian service, which already has 20,000 subscribers, is due to start up on 15 February.

The company is also studying two offers for its 80 per cent interest in sub-Saharan operation Telecel. BNP Paribasis the lead adviser for this transaction.