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SICO Research raises Batelco to buy

SICO Research raises Batelco to buy

Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) is poised to recover its investment in Indian affiliate S Tel after selling its 43 percent stake in the unit, SICO Research said, raising its long-term rating on the stock to "buy" from "add."

February 27, 2012 1:17 by

Batelco agreed to sell its stake in S Tel to its Indian partner for $175 million after the unit’s license was among 122 licenses the Indian Supreme Court revoked.

Domestic operations currently contribute 62 percent of Batelco’s revenues, but increasing competition in a saturated home market keep the company’s interest in the Indian telecom sector alive, analyst Nishit Lakhotia said.

Lakhotia maintained his short-term “positive” rating on the stock, citing an attractive valuation and high dividend yield.

Batelco’s expected dividend yield of 10 percent is the highest in the Gulf Cooperation Council telecom universe, but competitive pressures in Bahrain will continue to hurt the company’s earnings, Lakhotia wrote in a note dated Feb. 26.

Lakhotia is a five-star rated analyst for the accuracy of his earnings estimates on the companies under his coverage, according to Thomson Reuters’ StarMine data.

StarMine awards the top 10 percent of analysts five stars, the next 23 percent four stars, and the lowest 10 percent one star.

Lakhotia raised his price target on the stock to 0.52 dinars from 0.49 dinars. Shares of the company closed at 0.38 dinars on Sunday. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Tenzin Pema)

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