(MENAFN) Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) plans buyout drive this year to offset falling domestic revenue, Reuters reported.
CEO Mohammed Isa Al Khalifa said the former monopoly is targeting at least one acquisition deal in 2012. Stiff competition in the island Gulf kingdom brought down Batelco's profits in six of the past seven quarters.
Currently there are about 10 Internet providers to service Bahrain's estimated 1.3 million people, in what many analysts describe as the most competitive Gulf market.
Al Khalifa also said that Batelco has cash and bank balances of USD286 million and the firm could leverage its balance sheet to USD1 billion or more for acquisitions.
In February, Batelco agreed to sell its 43 percent stake in Indian affiliate S Tel for USD175 million, a move to get some liquidity for a potential deal.
Batelco, along with Kingdom Holding, tried to buy 25 percent stake in Zain Saudi last year. The deal, however, was scrapped due to disagreements with the indebted Saudi telco's banks.
Batelco owns Jordanian telecoms operator Umniah. It also has 27 percent of Yemeni mobile operator Sabafon, minority stakes in internet providers in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and is also active in Egypt.