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Thu 8 Feb 2007 04:00 AM

Wataniya prepares to detail credit facility syndicated by BNP Paribas

Reports in Europe earlier this week have suggested that a significant stake in Wataniya could soon be put up for sale, with Morgan Stanley reported as one of the banks set to manage a block sale.

Wataniya Telecom is not in talks related to its acquisition by one or more parties. That is the official line from a Wataniya International spokesperson in the face of mounting speculation suggesting that the operator looks like a possible acquisition target given its significant free float (approximately 52%), its relatively small market capitalisation (approximately US$4 billion) and positions in a number of strategically significant markets including Iraq, Algeria and Saudi Arabia.

Reports in Europe earlier this week have suggested that a significant stake in Wataniya could soon be put up for sale, with Morgan Stanley reported as one of the banks set to manage a block sale.

“There is no story there,” the Wataniya International spokeperson commented. “What is a story is that next week at 3GSM in Barcelona, Wataniya will announce one of the largest credit deals by a telecoms operator in the region, supported by global and regional banks alike,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said the financing deal, which would see BNP Paribas arranging the syndication, is evidence of Wataniya’s intention to continue along an independent path, which may involve further mergers and acquisition activity instigated by the Kuwaiti operator.

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