Qatar Telecom Raises $12 Billion to Buy Maroc Telecom, CEO Says
Qatar Telecom QSC raised $12 billion to finance its bid for a majority stake in Maroc Telecom SA as it seeks to expand through acquisitions, its chief executive officer said in an interview.
Qatar Telecom, which recently changed its name to Ooredoo, plans to focus on buying telecommunication operators abroad after expanding holdings in companies in Kuwait, Iraq and Tunisia last year, Nasser Marafih said yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.
“We’re aware that we’ve not done any acquisitions lately, but have increased our stake in our existing companies,” he said. “There are companies that will be available for consolidation and when they become available they will pursue them.”
The company is competing with Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (ETISALAT) to buy Vivendi SA (VIV)’s 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom and both made binding offers in April. The holding has a market value of about $5.6 billion based on trading in Casablanca. Vivendi wants to complete the sale by October, people familiar with the matter said last month. Etisalat offered a higher price than Qatar Telecom, Reuters reported May 24, citing two people familiar with the matter it didn’t identify.
Qatar Telecom submitted a “strong, compelling offer” and raised the necessary financing, Marafih said. “We still believe we have a strong chance to win this bid.”
Vivendi shares rose 1.7 percent to 15.42 euros at 10:04 a.m. in Paris.
Etisalat sought $8 billion of loans to back its bid, two people with knowledge of the deal said last month.
Qatar Telecom plans to bid for a license in Myanmar next month because it may be “one of the last untapped markets.” The country’s mobile phone penetration is about 5 percent, Marafih said.
‘It’s a very good opportunity in southeast Asia,’’ he said. “In terms of financing, we have the capability to do that.”
Most of the company’s 91 million customers are in countries outside of Qatar, including Indonesia, Kuwait, Iraq, Tunisia, Oman and Algeria, according to its website. Its home market of 1.9 million people accounted for 18 percent of its revenue in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Qatar Telecom is in talks with regulators in Iraq and Algeria for third-generation, or 3G, mobile phone licenses and hopes the countries will issue them this year, Marafih said.
“There are acquisition opportunities in our region,” he said. “The industry is going to consolidate in the coming years.”