Kuwait's Zain looks to up stake in Morocco telco

Exclusive: telco boss says seeking acquisitions across Middle East and North Africa

Kuwait's Zain Group, one of the Middle East's largest telecoms operators, could seek to increase its stake in Morocco's inwi, CEO Scott Gegenheimer told Arabian Business, as well as seeking other acquisitions.

The operator, which is present in eight countries across the region, currently owns a 15.5 percent stake in inwi, but would be eager to increase its shareholding in the mobile operator.

"We think it's a very well run company, we'd love to increase our stake," Gegenheimer told Arabian Business on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Gegenheimer added that Zain was also seeking acquisitions in North Africa, in sectors including internet service providers (ISPs) and content.

"We are looking  for acquisitions. Both large mobile operators and in the adjacent markets. Over the next 18 months to two years you'll see much more in the adjacent markets, looking at ISPs, data centres, fibre plays, content," he said.

"We want to stay in the MENA region, so North Africa is interesting for us. But the area that is challenging is valuations, we've got to make sure they're realistic," Gegenheimer added.

Gegenheimer also told Arabian Business that he was confident that a long-delayed bidding process for 3G licences in Iraq would take place at some point this year.

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