KIA to divest big stake in Kuwait telco

The $202 billion Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is ready to sell its 24.6 per cent stake in domestic telecommunications company Zain and is awaiting attractive offers from bidders as it seeks liquidity to finance the nation’s budget.

According to Kuwaiti daily Al Rai, the sovereign wealth fund (SWF) is prepared to sell its majority stake in Zain to Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, known as Etisalat, but is waiting to field an offer from the company.

The KIA no longer intends to increase its investments in the local market but is focused on supplying capital to the government to help finance the public budget – so anything in its portfolio could be up for sale, sources told the newspaper.

The KIA holds stakes in all three of Kuwait’s telecommunications operators and is amenable to divesting its investments in one as it implements a new strategy to reduce holdings in domestic companies and channel the realised capital towards government development projects.