TCI sale delayed

The Iranian government has delayed the planned sale of a stake in the country’s monopoly fixed line operator Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI). The state said back in November that the part-privatisation would take place before the end of the current Iranian calendar year on 20 March 2009, but a report from MEED, which quotes TCI managing director Saber Feyzi, says that the documents for the tender will not be available to interested parties until mid-March at the earliest. The state is expected to offload up to 49% of TCI's shares, with a foreign telco able to hold up to 35% and local partners the remainder. A 5% stake in TCI was sold off via an initial public offer last August, while another 5% is held by employees and 20% has been reserved for poor Iranian families. Besides dominating the fixed line sector TCI also controls the country’s largest cellular operator by subscribers, MCI.