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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 07/10/2012

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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qtel concluded its mandatory tender offer yesterday enhancing its stake in Wataniya Telecom Kuwait to 92.1 percent.The deal is one of the biggest in the Mena region this year.

The conclusion of the offer is another important milestone in Qtel's ongoing development into one of the world's leading communications companies, and represents another bold investment for a Qatari company on the world stage.

Following the expiry of Qtel's offer to acquire the 47.5 percent of shares it does not own in National Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC ("Wataniya Telecom Kuwait") on October 4, 2012, Qtel has received acceptances from shareholders for 199,649,694 shares, representing 39.61 percent of the total shares in issue. This represents KWD 519.1m at a price of KWD 2.600 per share.

Qtel originally made the offer to all other shareholders of Wataniya Telecom Kuwait on September 4, 2012, at a price of KWD 2.600 per share. Following the conclusion of the offer, Qtel will have increased its shareholding in Wataniya Telecom Kuwait from 52.5 to 92.1 percent.

Commenting on the conclusion of the offer, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman of Qtel and the Qtel Group, said: "We are delighted with the level of acceptances received from Wataniya Telecom Kuwait's shareholders. We believe this is testament to the attractiveness of the offer which gave the opportunity for shareholders to capitalise on their investment in Wataniya Telecom Kuwait at a fair price and at an appropriate stage in the company's investment cycle.

"We also respect the decision of those Wataniya Telecom shareholders who decided not to accept the offer and look forward to their continuing support as we enter into a new period of investment across all Wataniya Telecom Kuwait's main markets.

"We are also grateful for the Algerian Authorities understanding of our position, taking into consideration that no change takes place in the Wataniya Telecom Algeria management control in line with Algerian law, and granting us the opportunity to fulfil this deal which will stimulate our investments, particularly in the promising and thriving Algerian market."

In 2007, Qtel paid 3.8bn for an initial 51 percent stake in Wataniya Telecom Kuwait, and the investment has proven to be a successful one for Qtel and for its stakeholders.

In 2011, Wataniya Telecom Kuwait posted impressive revenue of 2.62bn and net profit of 1.30bn. The company expects substantial growth as its core markets roll out robust data networks and continue to improve customer service and operational efficiency.

Wataniya Telecom Kuwait has complete ownership of Wataniya Kuwait, in addition to stakes in Wataniya-Maldives (100 percnet), Wataniya-Palestine (48.5 percent), Nedjma in Algeria (71 percent), PTC-Bravo in Saudi Arabia (100 percent), and Tunisiana in Tunisia (75 percent).

The company is driving a number of important changes across their respective markets. For example, Wataniya Kuwait has improved network service, introduced a wide range of value added services for customers, and added new business services.


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