Preparation of new privatisation process made a priority

23 Sep 2004

The Lebanese Telecoms Minister has said that he wants to pursue ‘the British privatisation model,’ and that the state is laying the groundwork for the sale of stakes in the country’s two mobile operators, LibanCell and Cellis. Jean Louis Qordahi made the announcement at an IT exhibition yesterday, telling local press that the government’s current priority was to set up the much delayed new telecoms regulatory body so that the privatisation process can be restarted. Both cellcos are currently managed by foreign companies – MTC of Kuwait and Germany’s DeTeCon respectively – on a four year contract, after the government failed to find suitable buyer for either earlier this year. Privatisation of state companies is part of the state’s plan to reduce public debt, which has spiralled to more than USD35 billion.