Dubai: Saudi Telecom expects to soon receive Indian government’s go-ahead to enter the country through its recent 25% stake buy in Malaysia’s Maxis Communications, which owns 74% of Chennai-based Aircel.
“The details of the deal, which will enable us to enter Malaysian and Indian markets, will be available within a week from now,” Saudi Telecom spokesman Saud ibn Dafer Al-Qahtani said.
The $3 billion deal, announced on 26 June, gives the Saudi company an 18.5% indirect stake in Aircel Cellular.
Aircel will have to seek Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s approval for this change in shareholding.
The deal is similar to that of Egyptian telecom player Orascom’s acquisition of 19% stake in Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom International (HTIL) two years ago, which gave it an indirect 10% stake in Hutch Essar — the then Indian business of HTIL.
While Maxis controls majority shares of Aircel, the balance 26% is held by Reddy family of Apollo Hospitals group.
Aircel right now has eight circles and has applied for pan-India licence from the government depending on the availability of spectrum.