Cable & Wireless sells Batelco stake

7 Dec 2006

UK-based telco Cable & Wireless (C&W) agreed yesterday to sell its 20% stake in fixed line and mobile operator Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) to the Bahraini government for USD506.1 million. State holding vehicle Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co and quasi-governmental institutions the General Organisation for Social Insurance and the Pension Fund Commission are each buying a third of the C&W stake. Bahrain Mumtalakat currently owns 36.6% of Batelco, the General Organisation for Social Insurance holds 10% and the Pension Fund Commission has 9%, according to C&W. The remaining 24.4% in the telco is held by other financial and commercial organisations and Bahraini and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens.

C&W’s CEO Harris Jones said of the transaction: ‘We will use the sale proceeds to create further shareholder value by investing in our other international markets’. The British firm is following a strategy of selling assets where it is unlikely to gain management control. It will record a profit of around USD295 million as a result of the deal, which is expected to complete in early January.