DOHA, (Reuters) – Qatar Telecommunications Qtel is in talks to form a joint investment venture with the Gulf Arab state’s sovereign wealth fund, the company said on Sunday.
“The company confirms that it is in discussion with the Qatar Investment Authority regarding the establishment of a joint investment vehicle, the details of which are yet to be finalised,” Qtel said in an emailed statement.
“The potential fund would not, however, represent any change to Qtel’s existing strategy and would be focused on telecom and telecom-related ventures. Further details will be released in due course.”
The statement followed a local newspaper report quoting Qtel Chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Thani as saying the two parties were about to sign a partnership agreement.
“There is agreement to establish a joint company to invest and seize appropriate opportunities in telecommunications and information technology (sectors) abroad,” the Qtel chairman was quoted as saying in the Qatari daily El Raya.
Qtel, which operates in 17 countries, is 55 percent owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, according to Reuters data.
The telecom firm has long focused its expansion efforts on Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. It lost its local monopoly in 2007 after Vodafone Qatar, a unit of Britain’s Vodafone, entered the Qatari market.
“Qtel’s revenues from outside Qatar currently constitute more than 75 percent of its revenues, and this approach will continue,” the chairman was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
“Expanding services in mobile communications, data services and the services of institutions in Asia will remain an important part of our strategies.”
Qtel shares ended 0.1 percent lower on Sunday