Acquisitions over say consultants - operators disagree

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Consultancy firm AT Kearney reckons growth through acquisition in the telecoms sector in the MENA region is set to slow as a consequence of the credit crunch. The firm thinks growth for the sake of growth is no longer the name of the game in the region and only 29% of operators have realised an increase in aggregate profitability as a consequence of acquiring or merging entities. Worse still, some have lost as much as 47% in shareholder value as a consequence of aggressive expansion.

The consultant's advice appears to be falling on deaf ears at Saudi Telecom Co which said earlier this week that the global financial crisis offers opportunities for expansion and it intends to make acquisitions in the Middle East, the Gulf and Asia while continuing to focus on its domestic market.

Qatar Telecom also seems undaunted and has secured a US$1.5 billion credit facility this week, bringing the total amount it has raised in just over two years to more than US$10 billion. The operator has diversified into 17 countries as it seeks to execute on its goal of becoming a top 20 global telecoms player.

Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.