Zain sells majority stake to Asian investors

Natalie Apostolou
10 Sep 2009

Shareholders of Kuwaiti carrier Zain have confirmed that they are selling a 46% stake to India’s Vavasi Group and Malaysian billionaire Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary.

The transaction attracted 2 dinars per share, valuing the stake at €9.45 billion ($13.74 billion).

Vavasi managing director Farid Arifuddon told Bloomberg that state-owned Indian telcos BSNL and MTNL were also in discussions about joining the consortium.

However, the two carriers ruled that out in a joint statement last night, saying they took “no view” on participating in the consortium.

The Khorafi Group confirmed that it is selling its 11% stake in Zain. “It’s considered a good opportunity to exit the investment. This deal is considered a profit for both parties,” he told media.

As previously reported the negotiations were being handled by Kuwait's National Investments Co., the investment arm of Al-Khorafi group, the wealthiest family in Kuwait.

Zain, Kuwait's oldest mobile operator, has over 65 million customers in 23 countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Vavasi is an Indian conglomerate that runs telecom services under the Telegence brand. Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary is one of Malaysia’s richest businessmen, with interests in transport, logistics and energy among others.

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