Batelco Cancels Planned Umniah Sale

Bahrain’s Batelco has cancelled its planned sale of Umniah, citing market conditions.

“We’re going to terminate the sale process. It’s not an optimal time to sell, it’s an optimal time to buy. Prices are reducing, the appetite of so many big players is declining and many are over-leveraged,” Batelco CEO Ihab Hinnawi told Reuters.

In January, following months of speculations surrounding the possible sale of Jordan’s third biggest telecom operator, Batelco said it has received bids to buy Umniah.

Bloomberg reported last year that a sale of Umniah could fetch about $500-$600 million, and that Batelco had reached out to potential buyers including Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat Group) and Qatar’s Ooredoo QSC.

Umniah made a net profit of JD5.25 million in the nine months to September 30. On its website, the company said it had more than 3 million customers and a market share of around 32 percent in 2014.