The closing of the dealÂ between Kuwaiti telecom firm Zain and Indiaâ€™s Bharti Airtel could take weeks or months, Zainâ€™s chairman was quoted on Saturday as saying.
â€œThe deal will be signed in the next few days … (but) the closing of the deal could take weeks or months, for our assets to be transferred under a new name which is Bharti,â€ Zain Chairman Asaad al-Banwan told Al Arabiya television in an interview aired on Saturday.
Zain is about to sell its African assets, excluding Sudan and Morocco, to Bharti for $9 billion, finally giving the Indian buyer a much sought-after foothold in Africaâ€™s fast-growing market.
Banwan said shareholders were expected to get a cash dividend from the sale, but it still needed approval of the firmâ€™s board.
â€œThere will be good dividends for the shareholders,â€ Banwan said, reiterating that the returns from the deal will be booked in 2010, not 2009. The firm is yet to announce its 2009 results.
Last month, Zain said it would make $9 billion from the assets sale, $4 billion of which will be used to pay off debt, and the remaining $5 billion will be pocketed by the firm.
On Wednesday, the Kuwaiti firm said the due diligence for the deal had been completed and that it would be signed in a few days.
Exclusive talks between the two firms for the African assets sale expired on March 25.