KUN0028 4 GEN 0272 KUWAIT /KUNA-QVX9 CMS-KUWAIT-WATANIYA-QTEL Wataniya deal closed at USD 3.8 billion KUWAIT, March 14 (KUNA) -- Qatar Telecommunications company, Qtel, confirmed the closure of its acquisition of Kuwait's Wataniya Telecom for USD 3.8 billion, the largest deal of its kind in the Arab World. Qtel bought 51 percent of the share capital of Wataniya, the National Mobile Telecommunications Company, from the Kuwait Projects Company Holding (KIPCO) and other parties. Qtel Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani said, "the enlarged group will become a major force in telecoms in the ... region." He added, "We look forward to creating an integrated group with Wataniya that includes our operations in Indonesia, Singapore, Oman, and our home country of Qatar." Wataniya's operations, which extend to 100 million people in Kuwait, Algeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Tunisia, and Palestine, add "valuable depth, coverage, and skills to our expanded business," Sheikh Abdullah said. Wataniya has over one million subscribers and is one of the more advanced network operators in the region, according to the Qtel statement. Qtel's Vice Chairman Sheikh Mohammed Bin Suhaim Al-Thani said this acquisition comes inline with Qtel's goal to become a top 20 telecom company by 2020. He added that this deal will be beneficial to Wataniya telecom customers foremost. Qtel is the exclusive telecommunications provider in Qatar. In recent years, it expanded its operations into Oman through its subsidiary Nawras and in Asia where it owns around 25 percent of the Asia Mobile Holdings Pte. Ltd.(AMH).(end) hq.go KUNA 141359 Mar 07NNNN