Omantel says no decision on size of stake to be sold

8 Feb 2008

Incumbent monopoly telco Oman Telecoms (Omantel) has said that the sultanate’s government, which currently owns 70% of the operator, has yet to decide the size of the stake it is planning to sell to a long-term investor. A Ministry of Finance spokesman said the government is considering selling between 20% and 30% of its holding, or between 14% and 21% of the company. Omantel ‘would like to confirm after the…Ministry of Finance that…no decision has yet been taken by the government to specify the percentage of share to be sold,’ the company said in a statement to the Omani bourse

The government first revealed its intention to sell a stake in the company in October 2007, claiming at the time that getting a large investor on board would make it more competitive. UAE incumbent Etisalat immediately aired its own interest in purchasing a holding. The licensing of a second fixed line operator, thus opening up Oman’s wireline market, has been on the table since 2006, and was planned for the end of 2007, but so far no concession has been awarded and there is no indication from the Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) that it is ready to launch a tender.