Qatar Telecom sank yesterday after Moody’s Investors Service said the operator’s plans to buy a stake in Kuwait’s National Mobile Telecommunications (Wataniya) for US$1.9 billion was “credit negative”.
Moody’s said the plan would put liquidity pressure on Qtel after it already made plans to double its stake in the Iraqi telecoms operator Asiacell for $1.4bn.
“Moody’s Investors Service says that the proposed minority buyout by Qatar Telecom of shares in Wataniya is credit negative as it will reduce Qtel’s liquidity headroom given that this is the second significant buyout that it has announced in a month,” the ratings agency said on Wednesday.
Qtel, which is traded both in Abu Dhabi and Doha, fell 7.4 per cent to Dh110 on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX). The ADX General Index declined 0.9 per cent to 2,446.75.
“Investor concern is fear that the deal will drain liquidity and pressure on balance sheet,” said Fadi Al Said, a senior fund manager at ING Investment in Dubai.
“But I think it is manageable and not a serious risk.”
Arabtec’s shares were unchanged at 2.80 fils a share on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM). The regional contractor on Wednesday said it won a Dh10.8bn contract with Abu Dhabi Airport Company to build the Midfield Terminal as part of a consortium. The DFM General Index was little changed, down 0.02 per cent to 1,451.87.
Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait’s index lost 0.5 per cent to 5,789.21; Bahrain’s index added 0.2 per cent to 1,126.71; Oman’s MSM 30 Index gained 0.6 per cent to 5,689.83; Qatar’s QE Index slipped 0.4 per cent to 8,131.18. The Saudi Tadawul exchange was closed for the weekend.