AlWaleed sees Zain Saudi Deal After 2 Months Diligence
Billionaire Prince sees due diligence to take 4-6 weeks; Says 1 cent dividend from Citi is for short-term
April 24, 2011 12:51 by Reuters
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose firm Kingdom Holding has bid for a quarter stake in Zain Saudi, expects to complete the deal two months after finishing a due diligence process.
Kuwaiti telco Zain, which has a 25-percent stake in Zain Saudi, has conditionally accepted a $950 million offer from joint bidders Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) and Kingdom Holding.
He expects the due diligence process to take as many as six weeks to complete. “We now started… the Zain Saudi (due diligence) which is expected to take between a month to a month and half,” Alwaleed told reporters in Kuwait.
“If everything goes well we expect to complete the deal of buying Zain Saudi from Zain Kuwait within 2 more months.”
Last week, Zain Saudi said its first-quarter net loss narrowed as the telecoms operator offered new services and packages to lure customers but the quarterly loss was still wider than analysts forecasts.
Alwaleed, a prominent investor in Citigroup, said the U.S. bank’s one cent dividend was for the short-term, adding that the bank was “on the right track.”
“No doubt that the 1 cent dividend is very symbolic and is for short-term…..the leadership in Citi announced publicly that 2012 will be the year of returning shareholders capital which would happen through two ways, either increase the dividends or some share buyback,” he told reporters.
A company owned by Alwaleed agreed to give back most of the land it was allocated for a farming project in southern Egypt, an Egyptian government spokesman said last week. Alwaleed told reporters that his investments in Egypt were safe but did not give more details.
(Reporting by Eman Goma, Writing by Dinesh Nair, Editing by Reed Stevenson)