The government of Oman decided to stop its plan to sell its 25 percent stake
in Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), the country's state-controlled
telecom company, local newspaper Gulf News reported today.
The decision was made due to the current conditions in the global capital
markets posed by the financial crisis, according to the report.
"Despite the solid progress we have made with the sale process to date, and
the continued strong interest shown by the bidders, the unprecedented market
volatility and economic conditions that we are seeing globally has led to the
government taking the prudent decision to stop the sale process," Darwish Esmail
Al Balushi, secretary general of the Ministry of Finance, was quoted as saying.
The Omani government launched the process of selling its 25 percent stake in
Omantel in a bid to seek a strategic partner for Omantel to further strengthen
the company's market position and establish it as a world-class provider of
telecom services within the country and outside.
Omantel is the largest telecom service provider in Oman, owning 60 percent
market share in terms of number of subscribers and 72 percent in terms of total
revenue in mobile segment by the end of 2007.
Omantel underwent partial privatization in 2005 when it was listed on the
Muscat Securities Market. The Omani government currently retains a 70 percent