February 16, 2011 / 3:49 PM / 7 years ago

Etisalat upbeat on Zain deal success

BARCELONA (Reuters) - UAE telecoms operator Etisalat, which is looking to buy a controlling stake in Kuwait’s Zain, sees at least a 60 percent chance of sealing the deal once the due diligence has been completed.

“I am more optimistic now than ever before,” Jamal al Jarwan told Reuters on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Jarwan, who heads Etisalat’s international investments, would only take a controlling stake in Zain not a majority holding.

“We are in very advanced talks with Zain, the due diligence report will be completed by end March,” Jarwan said.

“I would be surprised if we found any major snags but we are still awaiting the final report,” he said, adding that financing was fully underwritten and would not be a hurdle for the transaction.

Jarwan also said he wanted to see Etisalat ranked among the world’s top ten operators. It is currently about number 17 or 18, he said.

To achieve that goal, he said, Etisalat would look at further opportunities after Zain including Syria.

Reporting by Victoria Howley and Nicola Leske; editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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