Sudanese bank agrees $95m deal to acquire UAE telco's stake in fixed line operator Canar
Sudan's Bank of Khartoum has agreed to buy Abu Dhabi-listed Etisalat Group's 92.3 percent shareholding in Sudanese fixed line operator Canar for 349.6 million dirhams ($95.2 million), Etisalat said on Monday.
The deal comes after Bank of Khartoum, which already owns 3.7 percent of Canar, exercised its right as a shareholder to block an agreement by Etisalat to sell its stake to Kuwaiti telecommunications firm Zain, Etisalat said.
Etisalat had announced the agreement with Zain at the same price on May 2, subject to approval from Sudanese authorities.
A spokesman for Zain told Reuters that the company had nothing to add beyond Etisalat's statement and that Zain's offer remained valid until any deal with another party was concluded.
Etisalat's deal with Bank of Khartoum, Sudan's biggest privately owned bank, remains subject to certain conditions, including the approval of Sudanese authorities, Etisalat said.
The Abu Dhabi firm took a stake in Canar in 2004 and three years later spent 584 million dirhams to more than double its holding. But in 2012 it took an impairment charge of 459 million dirhams on its investment because of inflation, currency moves and difficult economic and political conditions in Sudan.
Mobile phone penetration in Sudan was 72 percent in 2014, according to the International Telecommunication Union, placing the country 165th globally and indicating substantial growth potential.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.