Qtel buys into NMT

Qatar Telecom on Friday agreed to buy a controlling stake in Kuwait’s National Mobile Telecommunications (NMT) in one of the biggest telecoms deals from the region.

Quatar Telecom (Qtel) took a 51 per cent stake in NMT, costing $3.7bn – viewed by many as high – to strengthen its position across the Middle East and Africa. Qtel already has assets in Qatar and Oman but following the deal it will also have presence in Algeria, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Palestine and the Maldives.

Operating under the name Wataniya Telecom, the acquisition will boost Qtel’s client base to around 12 million, up from 2 million.

Qtel’s chief executive, Nasser Marafih said the company has its sights set on North America and Asia for its next expansion phase.

Analysts see acquisitions rising in the region as Western markets approach saturation.

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