DUBAI, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) said on Monday it had submitted a binding offer on Sept. 4 to buy a 100 percent share in Millicom, Sri Lanka – known as Tigo.
The statement on Abu Dhabi's bourse website did not give further details and the United Arab Emirates company, which operates in 18 countries, was not immediately available for comment.
“The offer for Millicom's Sri Lankan operations follows Etisalat's failed bid for a stake in Morocco's Meditel and underlines the firm's determination to expand into emerging markets beyond the Gulf Arab region,” an analyst said.
"Etisalat is in Pakistan and Afghanistan and is about to launch in India so this deal would make sense and would be an extension of its footprint, but we need more details on the bid and there are other players involved," said Simon Simonian, Shuaa Capital telecoms analyst.
Simonian said emerging markets such as Sri Lanka offer low penetration and high growth potential, but are more difficult to operate in than developed markets such as Europe.
The Abu Dhabi-based telecom firm is 60 % owned by the UAE government, the world's third biggest oil exporter, and the emirate of Abu Dhabi controls 90 % of the country's oil reserves.
Lankan mobile network operator is said to be worth between $150 million and $200 million.