New PM backs privatisation plan

16 Aug 2005

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has reiterated his desire to see the state’s telecoms assets sold off to help reduce the country’s USD36 billion debt. Following a privatisation summit at the weekend, Siniora said the government would be hiring advisors to value the state’s telecoms and electricity interests ahead of auctions tentatively scheduled for next year. The state wholly owns dominant fixed line operator Ogero and duopoly cellcos MTC Touch Lebanon and Cellis; the latter are managed by foreign firms under four-year contracts. Siniora succeeded Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in February. Hariri had hoped to make USD5 billion from the sale of state telecom and electricity holdings.

Lebanon, Alfa (MIC 1), Ogero Telecom, Touch Lebanon (MIC 2)