MTNL seeks to establish offshore presence with bids for Kuwaiti and African telcos

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) is seeking a presence offshore, with a consortium bid for Kuwait telecom Zain and a bid for a stake in Zambian telecom firm Zamtel.

According to chairman RSP Sinha, MTNL, with another state-run telecom, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) plans to form a consortium with Indian firm Vavasi and Malyasian investor to acquire a 46-per cent stake in Zain being offloaded by a group that includes Kuwaiti family conglomerate Kharafi Group.

Sinha said the MTNL was teaming up with BSNL and added that state-run firms were expected to fulfill a number of requirements as part of the bid process.

He added that by way of example, the companies would have to advertise for expressions of interest from merchant bankers to advise them. Additionally they would also need to obtain approvals from different ministries and the cabinet for a deal to be concluded.

Sinha told reporters, "We expressed interest for Zamtel. We have signed a non-disclosure agreement with the company."

Earlier this week, on Monday BSNL chairman had said the consortium was looking at a stake higher than 50 per cent in Zain.