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February 14, 2009

Indonesia's Telkom mulls taking stake in Iran’s TCI

Indonesia's largest telecommunications firm, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk, said on Friday it was considering buying a stake in state-owned Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI).

"We have been in talks, discussions. Preliminary discussions to be exact...nothing is final yet," company spokesman Eddy Kurnia was quoted by Reuters as saying on the telephone, when asked about Telkom's interest in TCI.

"It is still a long way. We're looking into a business opportunity." He declined to elaborate.

On December 7, Davoud Zareian, head of TCI's public relations office, said delegations from Russia, China and Indonesia had come for talks about buying shares in the company. He did not name any any parties.

TCI stakes will be put up for sale by the end of the 2008-09 Iranian year, which runs until March 20. Ali Rahmani, the head of the Tehran Stock Exchange, told Reuters the size of the stakes to be offered had not yet been fixed but it was likely to be around 49 percent.

This would require any foreign firm bidding for the stake to team up with an Iranian entity as a 35 percent limit has been seet for non-Iranians. The state will keep 20 percent ownership.

The sale of TCI is part of a wider drive to speed up the sale of state-owned companies.

Telkom shares were unchanged on Friday at 6,500 rupiah, while the main index rose 1 percent.

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