By Tawanda Chihota
As the winning bidder, Etisalat is set to be offered management control of the telco despite the Pakistan government retaining a 62% equity stake in the company.
Etisalat is reported to have won the contest to gain a 26% stake in Pakistan's state-run telephone company Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL). The UAE incumbent is reported to have offered to pay US$1.96 per PTCL share, amounting to a total bid of US$2.598 billion.
Pakistan’s minister for telecommunications, Awais Leghari, is reported as saying Etisalat beat competition from China Mobile and Singapore Telecommunications, which offered bids of US$1.063 and US$0.88 per share, respectively.
The sale of the stake, which offers Etisalat operational management control of the Pakistani state telco, has been met by demonstrations by PTCL staff afraid that new management would risk jobs for a great number of employees. Leghari is reported as saying planned union demonstrations were quelled after his ministry and PTCL management were able to convince employees the sale would not have any negative impact on jobs.
As the winning bidder, Etisalat is set to be offered management control of the telco despite the Pakistan government retaining a 62% equity stake in the company. Pakistan Telecom owns GSM operator Ufone, as well as Paknet, a countrywide ISP.