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Qatar Telecom to Double its Stake in Iraqi Mobile Network

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Qatar Telecom (Qtel) is reported to have reached an agreement to double its stake in Iraq's Asiacell for a total of USD1.47 billion.

Reports that the two companies were in talks emerged earlier this year.

Qtel will initially raise its stake from 30% to 53.9% and will then seek regulatory approval from the Iraqi government to lift it again to 60 percent. The transaction will be financed from existing funds although it is not clear who is selling the stake.

Asiacell is actually a consortium is comprised of Asiacell Iraq - an earlier license holder, Qatar's Qtel (30%) and investment banking group, MerchantBridge (19%). Asiacell Iraq was established in the city of Suleimaniah in 1999 by businessman Faruk Rasool, who remains its Chairman.

"The Iraqi market is about to enter a period of rapid broadband and data growth and Asiacell is well-positioned to meet the demands of the population for high quality, reliable and affordable voice and data services," Sheikh Abdullah said in the statement sent to Bloomberg News. "We continue to work hard on preparing for Asiacell's landmark IPO planned for later this year."

There is currently no confirmation on the Qatar Telecom website about the transaction.

On the web: Bloomberg News

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Tags: qtel  asiacell  Iraq  Qatar