The largest Saudi investment in Bulgaria is expected to be launched within weeks. This became clear during a meeting between the Minister of Economy and Industry Nikola Stojanov and Mohammad Alhakbani, CEO of the Saudi company Tawal and representatives of his management team. They are in the process of purchasing 100% of BTC’s passive mobile network infrastructure in Bulgaria, which is currently managed by United Group.
‘In recent months we have had very intensive contacts at state level between Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we are seeing the first results in investments,’ said Minister Nikola Stojanov. According to him, he has travelled to Riyadh twice in the past months and has also received the Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning on a visit to our country. ‘We have repeatedly stressed that it is a matter of time for these good contacts to be reflected in the economy and I am glad that we are seeing the first concrete results,’ the Minister of Economy stressed.
Mohammad Alhakbani presented the plans of the company he leads. It is in the process of purchasing the infrastructure of the Bulgarian telecom, and together with it will acquire ownership in Slovenia and Croatia. ‘We are delighted to be here and to be able to discuss our expansion plans with the Bulgarian Minister of Economy and Industry. We believe that Bulgaria presents an excellent future in terms of ICT infrastructure and we are confident that TAWAL can contribute to this progress and that ultimately our presence here will also support Bulgaria’s economy,’ he said.
‘Our efforts as a government are aimed precisely at attracting high value-added investments. One of the fastest growing sectors in the country is that of information and communication technologies, and connectivity is key for its future growth,’ Nikola Stojanov further said and expressed his satisfaction that a company with ambitions for the development of this infrastructure is setting foot in Bulgaria.
During the meeting it became clear that the total amount of the deal for the infrastructure in Bulgaria, Slovenia and Croatia amounts to EUR 1.2 billion. Details are still awaited on how much of this is for the network in Bulgaria, but it will certainly be the largest single Saudi investment in the country.
TAWAL is a subsidiary of Saudi telecom STC. The company’s core activities include the design, construction and management of consolidated telecommunications infrastructure facilities that enable state-of-the-art and modular connectivity. On 20 April this year TAWAL and UNITED GROUP have signed an agreement for the acquisition of BTC’s passive infrastructure. Along with this, UNITED GROUP (owner of BTC) sold 100% of the passive infrastructure of its mobile networks in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia to TAWAL. Preliminary estimates are that about 60% of the assets acquired in the deal are in Bulgaria.