UAE's Etisalat bids for Libyan telecom licence but still no news on its Meditel purchase in Morocco

Telecoms

United Arab Emirates telecoms company Etisalat is bidding for a Libyan mobile license, citing high growth potential. OPEC member Libya is the latest North African state to allow private investors into the lucrative telecoms sector, after government officials repeatedly said the country did not need foreign private-sector involvement. Libya has two state mobile phone operators, Libyana and Madar, to service a market of 5 million.

Etisalat had yet to make a bid for a stake in Meditel, Morocco's second-largest telecoms firm. Portugal Telecom has appointed Morgan Stanley to sell its 32 percent stake in Meditel. In May Etisalat's chairman told Reuters it would bid for the Meditel stake as it seeks acquisitions in the Middle East and Africa as asset prices have declined. 'We are still looking at Morocco, but will it materialise? It's not clear,' its Chairman Sharhan said on Tuesday.

As if all of the above were not a mouthful enough to swallow, Etisalat is now discussing buying the whole of Zain if it can resolve the issues around where their operations overlap.

Reuters