[zawya] The sale of a 46-percent stake of Kuwait's telecom giant Zain to an Indian-Malaysian consortium is not dead but the process will take longer, National Invesments Co. said on Thursday.
The company, which has been negotiating the deal on behalf of major private investors including Al-Khorafi group, the largest private investor in Zain, said in a statement on the Kuwaiti bourse website that the delay is due to economic developments.
The investors had said the deal was to be completed within four months when they first officially announced it on September 8.
"Due to the recent economic and financial developments in the region, the sale is expected to take longer than originally planned, but it is still ongoing," the statement said.
Khorafi group has said that a consortium consisting of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) and Vavasi Group from India and Malaysia's Al Bukhary Group, was interested to buy the stake.
Doubts over the sale grew as the state-owned BSNL and MTNL have remained non-committal to the deal, at times saying it was too expensive. The price initially agreed was two dinars (seven dollars) per share.
When the deal was announced, Zain shares traded at around 1.5 dinars (5.2 dollars) while on Thursday it was trading at one dinar (3.5 dollars).
Zain, one of three mobile operators in Kuwait, is the largest company on the Kuwaiti bourse with a capitalisation of 14.8 billion dollars. It operates in 23 countries and has over 70 million clients.
Sale of Kuwait's Zain stake to take longer