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Oman to privatise airline, telecommunications companies

MUSCAT, OMAN: Oman plans to privatise its loss-making national carrier Oman Air and continue selling chunks of its telecommunications company Omantel to local investors, Finance Minister Darwish al-Balushi said last week.
Oman's Finance Minister Darwish al-Balushi. Image: Oman Air
"Both operations would come be part of a broader plan of privatising at least 60 companies in which the state holds an interest," he said.

As a first step, Oman Air will be broken up into three companies, one for freight, one for ground services and one for passengers.

"A decision on privatisation will be taken subsequently in light of the results at each of the companies," said Balushi, who is also chairman of the airline.

In 2012, Oman Air's loss narrowed to 97m rials (US$251.2m) from US$285m a year earlier.

Turning to Omantel, in which the government holds a 70% stake, Balushi said the plan is to offer 9.5% of its shares to Omani investors on 27 March. That would be on top of an equivalent amount sold in February.

The sale of the combined 19% of the company is expected to generate 140m rials for the public coffers.

Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge
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