By Rob Corder
Bahraini service provider's investment in Sofitel gives it a firm foothold in Egyptian Internet market.
Batelco Middle East Company has once again extended its presence beyond the shores of Bahrain with the acquisition of 48% of Soficom Communications, one of the top three ISPs in Egypt.
The acquisition builds on other BMEC investments made in service providers in Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and was made under the directove of H.E. Shaikh Al bin Khalifa bin Sulman Al Khalifa, Minister of Transportation and Chairman of Batelco.
The Soficom investment gives BMEC a foothold not only in the Egyptian Internet access market, but also related services like web design and portal development.
EgyNet will remain the largest shareholder in Soficom with a 50.25% stake, but management control of the company will pass to BMEC. EgyNet is still the only private company licensed to provide data services in the whole of Egypt. It has a large Frame Relay network and more than 40 Point of Presence (POPs) throughout the country. It provides bandwidth, leased line and data services to financial institutions and other business sectors.
BMEC’s chairman, Anthony Hart, said he was delighted with the new joint venture agreement, adding that he looks forward to further cooperation with the Egyptian business community in the field of communications.