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Omantel’s Zain subsidiary announces new tower sale transactions

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Majority Omani government-owned Omantel has announced new transactions by its subsidiary, Mobile Telecommunications Company (Zain), in the sale of stakes in its passive telecom infrastructure.

In a filing to the Capital Market Authority (CMA) on Sunday, Omantel said Zain Iraq – a subsidiary of Zain Group – has signed agreements for the sale and leaseback of passive components along with supporting facilities, such as power generators, fuel tanks and protection kiosks (collected known as tower assets) in Iraq with TASC Towers Iraq Company.

The agreements include the sale and leaseback rights for 4,968 tower assets at a value of $180 million, it said. As part of the deal, TASC Towers Iraq will expand the network and build new tower sites across the country, including 198 new sites over the next 12 months.

Following the agreements, Zain Group has increased its share in TASC Towers to 83.47 per cent, up from 69 per cent previously. TASC Towers will however continue to operate as an independent entity with a board consisting of non-Zain Group majority members and an independent management team.

The accounting gain from this transaction is estimated at $36 million, which will be recorded in the financial states of Zain Iraq in Q1 2023, the filing added.

Just last week, Omantel announced that Zain KSA had completed the sale of stakes in its tower infrastructure Golden Lattice Investment Company, owned 60 per cent by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), 20 per cent by Zain Saudi Arabia, 10 per cent by Prince Saud bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, and 10 per cent by the Sultan Holding Company.

The transaction will result in a gain of up to 1.1 billion Saudi rials (US $293 million, with the equivalent of RO 112.8 million to be realized over the period of transferring ownership of the towers in batches within a period not exceeding 18 months,” said Omantel in its filing to the Capital Market Authority (Oman).

Zain Group’s share will be 37.045 per cent following this transaction based on its ownership in Zain KSA, it stated.

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