Indian telecom Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd is part of a consortium that is seeking a controlling stake in Kuwaiti telecom Zain, the chairman of the state-run firm was quoted as saying in a media report.
We have started the process of negotiations for acquisition of a controlling stake in Zain, BSNL's Chairman Kuldeep Goyal told reporters on the sidelines of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference in Geneva, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported.
The PTI report was published on the Business Standard's website. It said another Indian state-run telecom, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, was also part of the consortium.
We'll prefer a controlling stake (over 50 per cent), Goyal was quoted as saying in the report, which said he did not comment on what the stakes of the individual consortium members would be.
BSNL and MTNL had previously said they were examining a proposal to join a consortium led by India's little-known Vavasi Group and a Malaysian investor to buy a 46 percent stake in Zain.
On Saturday, Kuwaiti conglomerate Kharafi Group, a major shareholder in Zain, said BSNL and MTNL were interested in joining the consortium for the 46 percent stake. [ID:nL3470233]
Indian telecom minister Andimuthu Raja said if the companies reach a deal with Zain shareholders, the state firms would need the approval of different ministries and also from the cabinet.
If the Department of Telecom (DoT) feels that it is detrimental to the two PSUs, only then the DoT will seek a clarification from them, he was quoted as saying in the PTI report.
(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by John Mair)