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Tue 16 Mar 2010 01:40 PM

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No obstacles seen to Zain-Bharti deal close - report

Both firms keen on closing sale of Zain's African assets to Bharti on March 25.

Kuwaiti telecom Zain and India's Bharti Airtel have faced no obstacles in due diligence and expect the $9bn deal to close on time, a Kuwaiti newspaper said on Tuesday. Daily Al Rai, quoting unnamed sources familiar with the deal, said both firms were keen on closing the sale of Zain's African assets to Bharti on March 25 as scheduled.

"We are progressing with due diligence step by step and there are no obstacles so far. Each of Zain and Bharti are keen to finalize the transaction according to the preset timetable," according to a person quoted by the newspaper.

The paper said due diligence had been done on the majority of Zain's African assets in major countries and only procedural steps, which are unlikely to change the final report, remain.

The newspaper quoted sources as saying Bharti, India's largest telecoms firm, is expected to name the final bank consortium on the deal.

Bharti's exclusive talks with Zain run until March 25, and follow two failed attempts by the Indian firm to tie-up with South Africa's MTN, Africa's biggest telecoms firm.

Bharti is looking at a mix of dollar and rupee funding to finance the Zain deal, sources told Reuters last month.

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