Lebanese telecommunications company SAL has purchased a 14% stake in LibanCell for E24 million. The holding was purchased from Sonera, which acquired the stake in 1994.
SAL was eager to push the sale through to acquire the shares in the Lebanese operator, which controls almost 50% of the domestic mobile GSM market. It recorded 381,000 subscribers at 2001-year end.
Sonera was happy to give up the stake because the Lebanese government had previously retracted BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) contracts from existing GSM operators in favor of granting two other GSM operating licenses, which made the LibanCell holding no longer attractive for the telco.