Vodafone Qatar has revealed that it has finally been awarded Qatar’s second fixed line licence, albeit subject to regulatory approval. The company was originally selected for the concession in September 2008, but the award of the licence has been delayed due to complications surrounding the operator’s ownership structure. Grahame Maher, Vodafone Qatar’s chief executive, told Zawya Dow Jones last month that the government wanted to change the consortium’s ownership structure. ‘We are waiting for the final approval of the shareholding structure that the government wants to run,’ he said at the time. Vodafone Qatar would probably hold a stake of between 25% and 35% in the new venture, he said.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, 45% of Vodafone Qatar’s shares are controlled by Vodafone And Qatar Foundation LLC. That consortium is in turn a joint venture which is 51% owned by the UK-based Vodafone Group (giving it a 22.95% overall stake), and 49% owned by Qatar Foundation For Education, Science & Community Development (which also owns a 5% direct stake, giving it an overall interest of 27.05%). 40% of the company is in public float whilst additional stakes are owned by Military Staff Loan Funds (3.40%), Military Pension Fund (3.3%) and Health & Education Endowment (3.30%). Vodafone Group has overall board control and a five-year management contract, and has expressed confidence that there will be an opportunity in the future to take majority control of its Qatari business.