STC weighs options to sell phone towers

Khaled bin Hussain Biyari
Updated 12 July 2016
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STC weighs options to sell phone towers

DUBAI: Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) has approached potential bidders for its phone towers as the Kingdom’s biggest telecommunications operator weighs options for the infrastructure assets, people familiar with the matter said.
The company has also spoken to competitors Etihad Etisalat Co. and Zain Saudi Arabia about merging the three firms’ towers into a single entity, said the people, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private. Saudi Telecom has not made a final decision on which process it plans to pursue, and no agreements have been reached with any of the parties, the people said.
Spokesmen for Saudi Telecom, Etihad Etisalat and Zain Saudi didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Saudi Telecom shares rose 0.4 percent to SR64.50 in Tadawul trading at 1:13 p.m. Mobily rose 0.4 percent to SR27.70. Zain Saudi gained 3.3 percent to SR8.40.
Carriers are selling towers to reduce exposure to costly infrastructure. Saudi Telecom Chief Executive Officer Khaled bin Hussain Biyari said in a May interview that he was “seriously considering” selling the assets to make the company more efficient. Etihad Etisalat, known as Mobily, abandoned its own tower sale as a result of its larger rival’s plans, people familiar with the matter said last month.
Zain Saudi is also weighing options for its approximately 7,500 towers in the Kingdom, including selling them or working with competitors to create one company to manage the assets, Chief Executive Officer Hassan Kabbani said earlier in the year.
Saudi Telecom owns more than 10,000 towers in the country, one person said.
The Maaal news website reported the talks to combine the three companies’ mobile assets in February.


RBS says Saudi bank merger boosts its core capital

Updated 16 June 2019
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RBS says Saudi bank merger boosts its core capital

  • RBS had a 15.3% interest in Alawwal bank
  • The changes would boost the banks CET1 core capital ratio by 60 basis points

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said on Sunday the completion of a merger between Alawwal bank and Saudi British Bank would lead to RBS shedding $5.9 billion of risk weighted assets and boost its core capital.
RBS, through Dutch subsidiary NatWest Markets N.V., was part of a consortium including NLFI and Banco Santander S.A. that held an aggregate 40% equity stake in Alawwal bank, the British bank said in a statement. RBS also had an interest equivalent to a 15.3% stake in Alawwal bank.
RBS said that as a result of the merger completion, it would recognise an income gain on disposal of the Alawwal bank stake for shares received in Saudi British Bank of almost $503 million and a reduction in risk weighted assets of nearly $5 billion.
RBS also said the deal would extinguish legacy liabilities of almost $377.
The changes would increase the bank's CET1 core capital ratio by 60 basis points, it said.
The merger will also help RBS to focus on its target markets, RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said in a statement.
RBS, which was rescued in 2008 with a nearly $57 billion capital injection by the British government, has been shrinking its overseas operations since the financial crisis to focus on its UK lending operations.