GBCORP and Batelco ink STel strategic partnership deal

14 Jan 2010

Bahrain’s Batelco and Global Banking Corporation (GBCORP) have announced that the latter will acquire an 11% stake in new Indian mobile network operator STel as part of a strategic partnership between the two companies, Al Bawaba reports. GBCORP will make its investment through BMIC, the investment vehicle through which Batelco took a stake in STel, but no financial details of the deal have been disclosed. Completion of the deal will be subject to the companies gaining approval from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

Commenting on the development, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al-Jasmi, vice-chairman and managing director of GBCORP, said: ‘We are greatly pleased to partner with the Batelco Group in their joint venture telecom project in India. The partnership with Batelco is a significant measure of our way forward strategy of building investment bridges through strategic partnerships, identifying new investment opportunities and diversifying our investment portfolio,’ while Peter Kaliaropoulous, group chief executive at Batelco, noted: ‘We are delighted and welcome GBCORP as our investment partner in BMIC Limited, a company which will hold a 49% stake in STel, subsequent to GBCORP’s investment.’

Since launching commercial services in December 2009 in Orissa, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh STel has acquired more than 300,000 customers. STel has said it will focus on the mobile markets of north-east and north-west India, and currently holds Unified Access Services Licenses (UASLs) to operate in six circles — Orissa, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, North-East, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir.