Batelco Sells STel Stake

The Bahraini telecoms operator will receive $174.5 million, the same amount that it paid to purchase the stake in the Indian firm.

Bahrain’s Batelco Group announced that it has reached an agreement to sell its 42.7 per cent share in Indian mobile operator STel for BD65.8 million ($174.5 million). The stake will be sold to Batelco’s Indian partner, Sky City Foundation Limited and the deal is expected to be completed by the end of October 2012.

“This [sale] is a part of an earlier understanding with our Indian Partner to exit, given the circumstances surrounding the 2G probe in India over the past twelve months,” the company said in a statement.

Earlier this month, India’s Supreme Court cancelled 122 telecoms licences held by eight operators amid a 2G telecoms scandal.

The licences that are to be revoked were awarded in 2008, before Batelco bought into S Tel. Teh Bahraini operator had acquired the shares in STel in 2009 for $174.5 million.

“We remain interested in other investment opportunities for the Batelco Group that will enable us to participate in the Indian telecom market. We are actively exploring all options in this respect over the coming months,” stated Batelco’s Group CEO Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa.