DUBAI: Qatar-owned telecoms provider Qatar Telecom will seek acquisitions in the Middle East and Asia despite mounting debt, the company’s chief executive said in a newspaper report on Wednesday.
Chief executive Nasser Marafih told the Financial Times that the company, which has already expanded into 17 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, benefits from its lucrative business in Qatar and the backing of its wealthy government, allowing it to continue to expand.
"We’re still on the lookout for good acquisition opportunities," Marafih said.
"Scale is important and I think we will see more consolidation in the Middle East."
Marafih said that its debt to earnings ratio has declined since 2007, making its debt load "reasonable now."
Moody’s estimates that its net debt is $9.9 billion and put the company on review for a downgrade in March.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s raised its rating on Qatar Telecom on Tuesday based on its upgrade of the emirate but warned that its ratings are constrained by the company’s relatively high leverage.