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Mobilink to invest $300 million in next three years

ISLAMABAD (March 05 2003) : Orascom Telecom Holding Chief Naquib Sawiris on Tuesday said Mobilink, GSM will invest $ 300 million in Pakistan in next three years, besides investing in several major industrial sectors such as cement, fertiliser, information technology, construction and real estate.

He said that his company was studying Pakistani market very closely to finalise the list of prospecting areas for investment.

Naquib, who is currently in Pakistan to unveil Mobilink's expansion plan, was addressing here at a press conference after he called on President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali.

Mobilink's Local partner, Javed Saifullah and Company CEO Al-F Barry accompanied Naquib.

By December 2002, Mobilink's capital investment was recorded at approximately $ 300 million.

The company plans to bring in investment of $ 130 million in 2003, as part of its expansion programme.

Mobilink claims that it contributed Rs 5.4 billion to the national exchequer during the last two years in the form of duties/taxes besides providing job to over 5,000 people.

Naquib said that Pakistan was making great progress on economic front and its increasing growth rate and the GDP figures speak of the government's success in key areas.

He held President Musharraf and Prime Minister Jamali in great esteem for taking Pakistan into the right direction and making efforts to attract foreign investors.

He said his company was operating in more than 14 countries but its experience in Pakistan was much better then others.

“Pakistan is a strong country with promising market potential and on the same calculation Orascom Telecom Holding has chosen it for investment,” Naquib said.

The Orascom chief was confident that Mobilink would meet all the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) requirements to ensure quality service to its consumers, which he claimed were one million.

Mobilink was eyeing to double its consumers base in a year and the same time improve its network to take the load without causing inconvenience to the consumers, he said.

To a question, Naquib replied that some disturbances were not within the company control as his company was being denied excess in many ways and even then it was making all out efforts to ensure the best service to its consumers.

He showed great interest in buying the PTCL, but opposed issuance of licence to more cellular companies fearing it could damage Pakistan market.

He said the new companies should be encouraged to invest in infrastructure-related areas.

He claimed that the Mobilink was in favour of competition but not at the cost of market potential.

The Orascom chief also said his company has sought some assurances from the Government of Pakistan so that it could continue with its expansion plan without any apprehension.

These included extension of licence and protection of its network.

He clarified that the last month's differences between Saif Group, Mobilink's local partner and CEO Al-Barry were because of misunderstanding which now was a story of the past and now every one was friend and working with the same spirit.

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