Kuwait's Securities Group joins BSNL, MTNL in hunger for Zain

With a major stake in United Arab Emirates-based telecom major Zain up for grabs, Securities Group Co, a Kuwait-based investment company, is considering a bid to buy the 24.6-per cent stake that state-owned wealth fund Kuwait Investment Authority is preparing to sell.

Securities Group joins India's state-owned telecom companies Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, as well as South Africa's MTN Group, in expressing interest in Zain.

Bader al-Saad, managing director of KIA, had said on 5 October that fund might sell its stake in Zain, though the fund is not in any talks with shareholders, the telecom firm or potential buyers.

In a newspaper advertisement on Sunday, the Securities Group, which manages assets of about $2 billion, said it is undertaking the necessary studies to present an offer to buy "a part or all" of the KIA's stake in Zain.

"This is a response to the announcement of KIA saying they are considering selling a stake (in Zain) ... all we are saying is that we are interested," Securities Group's chairman and managing director Ali al-Mousa said on Sunday. He added that his firm is not in talks with KIA, and has not submitted an offer for a stake.

Separately, daily newspaper Awan said on Sunday, citing sources in KIA, that the authority has received new offers to sell its stake in Zain, and is currently studying the offers.