Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) has announced close of its deal with S Tel, a Chennai-based company holding startup spectrum in six states. Batelco said that it has completed formalities for the acquisition of a 49% stake in S Tel for $225 million. Batelco had tied up with Dubai’s Millennium Private Equity to pick up the stake in a deal announced in January this year.
“Batelco now holds a 36.9% share of S Tel and in the coming months Batelco’s shareholding will increase to 49%,” said Batelco’s Group CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos. The company plans launch of mobile services in fourth quarter of 2009, he added in a release.
S Tel has unified access services licences (UASL) and spectrum to operate in six Indian states – Bihar, Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, North East and Assam. Batelco believes that with the population in these areas around the 230 million and mobile penetration less than 20%, S Tel can grow rapidly in these untapped areas. The company can also provide broadband services across the country as it has a Category A ISP license.
It was recently disclosed that Subroto Roy’s Sahara Group has picked up an 11.7% stake in S Tel. Earlier reports have also said that maverick investor C Sivasankaran is in talks to pick up a stake in the company.
Batelco has operations in 7 markets across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia and reported revenues of $891 million, with a profit of $276 million in 2008.
“S Tel will benefit operationally by leveraging synergies and know-how with Batelco which will be a significant shareholder in our company,” said S Tel’s CEO Shamik Das.
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