Iran consortium buys 50% stake in TCI

A consortium has bought 50 percent plus one share in Iran's state telecommunications company TCI for the equivalent of around USD 7.8 billion, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reports, citing an official of Iran's Privatisation Organisation. The agency said two Iranian consortia were competing for the stake in Telecommunication Company of Iran and Etemad Mobin won, buying each share for IRR 3,409. The official IRNA news agency said Etemad Mobin belongs to the cooperative foundation of the Republican Guards. Mehdi Aghdaie, deputy director of the Privatisation Organisation, said the stake sold in the telecommunications company amounted to around 10 percent of the stock market's total value. According to Reuters, the gradual sale of TCI, which provides all of Iran's landlines, is part of a wider drive to speed up the sale of state-owned companies, though not in the upstream oil and gas industry which will remain in government hands. Shares representing 5 percent of the company fetched USD 360 million when they were sold on the stock exchange last year, stock exchange officials have said.