Etisalat makes $634m from Saudi Mobily sale


Emirates Telecommunications Corp said on Tuesday it sold 43.75 million shares in Saudi affiliate Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), generating returns of Dh2.33 billion ($634.3 million).


Profit from the sale will be counted in the company's second-quarter earnings, it said in a statement on the Abu Dhabi bourse website.


The company sold the shares at SAR55 riyals ($14.67; Dh54), or a total SAR2.41 billion, it said.


Etisalat said last week it sold a stake in Mobily, as required by its licence. It did not give details at the time.


Etisalat's holding in the firm is now 26.25 per cent, compared with 35 per cent, it said then.


Six Saudi institutional investors, including state-run Public Pension Agency and General Organisation for Social Insurance (GOSI), have held 45 per cent of the Mobily's shares.


Mobily, one of two mobile telephone service providers operating in a country of 24 million people, started operations in mid-2005. It has since claimed a 40 per cent market share.


Its 2007 profit almost doubled to SAR1.38 billion on a 44.3 per cent increase in sales to SAR8.44 billion.


Mobily and its rival Saudi Telecom Co will face more competition this year when a group led by Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain) starts operating a third mobile network in the kingdom. (Reuters)