The Privatisation Commission has announced that it has relaxed the rules regarding the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommuncations Company (PTCL).

The government is to sell a 26 per cent stake in the company including management control. It has now removed the requirement that the telecoms operator within a bidding consortium is obliged to take at least 30 per cent of the equity.

Financial adviser Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (DMG) says that the move will make the privatisation package more attractive to both telecoms operators and financial investors. A bidding consortium would still have to include an operator. Such a company would be bound by a management contract with other consortium members. The Privatisation Commission says that AT&T and GTE, both of the US, have expressed interest in the sale.

The timetable for completing the sale has now been extended, but has not yet been finalised. A bidding deadline will be put in place after consultation with prospective buyers. DMG says that it is hoping to receive bids in the autumn and conclude a sale before the end of the year.