Doha conference to focus on telecom strategies

The leadership of telecom players in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will discuss their future strategies in the region and beyond at a key conference in Doha next week.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, chairman, Qatar Telecommunications (QTel), will give the keynote address at the TMT Finance and Investment Middle East 2009, to be held at Sharq Resort Village, Doha, Qatar, on March 18 and 19.

Eng Saud Al-Daweesh, executive president, Saudi Telecommunications Company; Peter Kaliaropoulos, CEO, Batelco, and Dr Hessa Al Jaber, IctQatar, will take part in the event with the theme “Defining the Future of Telecoms”.

Senior bankers, financiers, private equity firms, law firms and other professional intermediaries will also be part of the conference.

The annual meeting is designed to provide a platform for leadership debate and will be characterized by strategies for operators with strong cash positions.

In special panels focused on mergers and acquisitions in the telecoms, media and technology sector, experts will debate the opportunities and challenges for the TMT sector in the Middle East and Emerging Markets in 2009. The best merger and acquisition strategies will be highlighted.

The event will also host the first awards ceremony recognizing the most significant deals over the past year. Recent deals demonstrate the resilience of operators in the region, according to a paper by Ghassan Hasbani, partner at Booz&Company.

Etisalat has won a $400 million bid to operate a mobile network in Iran for the next 15 years; STC has won a mobile license including 3G in Bahrain, and Batelco has announced the acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in India’s S Tel for $225 million, in partnership with a private equity group.

“With manageable debt levels, particularly when compared to the European average, GCC telecom operators are in a strong position to take advantage of M&A targets globally,” said Hasbani.
Highlights of the event:

* Leadership Round Table  – Executive Strategies For Expansion – March 18: How will the chief executives from the leading telecom operators in the region continue with their global growth strategies in the new market?  The discussion will feature  Dr. Nasser Marafih, CEO, Qatar Telecom (Qtel); Eng. Saud Al Daweesh, executive president, Saudi Telecom Company (STC); Peter Kaliaropolous, CEO, Batelco; Jamal Al Jarwan, CEO International Investments, Etisalat

* The M&A Advisers Panel – Who Will Lead Consolidation? – March 18: Industry changing M&A deals are being predicted as plummeting asset prices present once in a lifetime opportunities for cash rich acquirers.  Leading investment banking and legal advisers outline which deals will take place in 2009, and what the global telecom sector look like by 2010?  This will feature representatives from Citigroup, Clifford Chance LLP, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs.

* The TMT Finance Awards Ceremony and Dinner – March 18: A night of celebration to highlight the leading telecom companies, investors, advisers and executives that have excelled in 2008-2009.  Awards will be presented for: Telecom Deal of the Year; Telecom M&A Adviser of the Year;
Mobile Operator of the Year; Fixed Line Operator of the Year; Technology Provider of the Year;
Outstanding CEO of the Year.

* Fixed and Mobile Middle East - The Future of Wireless – March 18:  Which new technologies, standards and strategies will win through for the ICT sector in the Middle East in 2009? This will feature Qualcomm, Inmarsat, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Apollo Submarine Cable System Ltd, OTEGLOBE, Oliver Wyman

* Raising Finance – How to access local and International Capital Markets – March 18: As the credit crunch goes global creative new financing strategies are crucial for survival. An expert panel of bankers will highlight where to raise finance via IPO, debt, private equity and local and international capital markets. It will feature Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Standard Bank, Calyon, Citigroup Global Markets

* TMT Investment Challenges for the Emerging Markets  - March 19: Where will the Private Equity investors be looking for value? Public and private investment initiatives and strategies for the emerging markets. This will feature Blackstone, Delta Partners, Qtel, Barclays Capital and Clifford Chance

* Expansion opportunities in Asia and Africa – where will deals take place in 2009 – March 19: With opportunities for expansion in the world’s leading growth markets our expert panel of executives investors and advisers highlight the deals ahead. This discussion will feature Al Nahla Group of Companies; Actel; Expresso Telecom Group; Investec; Standard Chartered  , SPX Dielectric Communications.

For more information on the event, visit – TradeArabia News Service


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