Government to reduce Batelco stake

21 May 2008

The government of Bahrain will reduce its stake to below 50% in former monopoly PTO Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco), as part of a plan to sell domestic assets and diversify abroad, reports Reuters, quoting Talal al-Zain, CEO of state investment vehicle Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co. With stakes in 34 companies, Mumtalakat plans to reduce its Bahraini holdings via options including initial public offerings (IPOs) that could be held within the next twelve months, with the overall aim of having half the government’s assets in foreign ventures, the CEO told the news agency. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, the Kingdom of Bahrain holds 56.7% of Batelco’s shares through Mumtalakat (36.7%) and another investment vehicle, Amber (20%), whilst it holds additional stakes through two quasi-governmental institutions, the General Organisation for Social Insurance (GOSI, 10%) and the Pension Fund Commission (PFC, 15.7%). In December 2006 the government bought a 20% stake in Batelco from UK-based telco Cable & Wireless (C&W) for USD506 million, with Mumtalakat, GOSI and PFC each taking a third of the shares.

Bahrain, Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco)