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$2.6 billion PTCL deal collapses

October 30, 2005

ISLAMABAD, Oct 29: Pakistan’s largest-ever $2.6 billion privatization transaction of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has failed to materialize despite last-minute government intervention, it was officially confirmed.

Therefore, an emergency meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Saturday night decided to refer the matter to the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCOP) to take next steps of the transaction.

“In spite of the necessary facilitation within the transaction framework, Etisalat failed to make payment of the balance bid amount within the mutually agreed extended timeline of October 28, 2005,” said a statement officially issued by the Privatization Commission at 2200 hours on Saturday.

“The matter is being referred to the Privatization Board and to the Cabinet Committee on Privatization for their guidance on the next steps of the transaction,” the brief statement issued after the meeting said.

The meeting was also attended by Minister for Privatization Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Owais Ahmed Khan Leghari.

This is the second major privatization deal in about a year that has met with failure. Earlier, Kanooz Al-Watan of Saudi Arabia, the highest bidder of Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC), had backed out of its offer.

The ministers for privatisation and telecommunications held back-to-back meetings throughout Saturday and also remained in contact with the UAE-based company but were unable to bridge the differences.