Why Not?

Oct. 17, 2006 (LBO) — Emirates Telecommunications Corp. is in talks with the Sri Lankan government to acquire a stake in Sri Lanka Telecom, its spokesman said Tuesday. The company, also known as Etisalat, is looking at buying a controlling stake in SLT, spokesman Ahmed bin Ali told Bloomberg News. He decline to provide further details.

The country’s biggest fixed line operator with 85 percent market share, SLT’s ownership is currently split between Japan’s Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (NTT) 35.2 percent, the Sri Lankan government (49.5 percent) and the public (15.3 percent). SLT, which also owns a mobile phone unit, posted a 67 percent year-on-year growth in net profits of 2.30 billion rupees for the six months to June, driven by higher sales of CDMA or wireless phones and data services.