Sci & Tech

TCI to Offer More Shares

TCI to Offer More SharesTCI to Offer More Shares

Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) will be selling just over 2 billion shares on Tehran Stock Exchange on June 15.

The new block offering of TCI’s shares will account for 4.78 percent of the listed conglomerate’s ownership, ISNA reported on Saturday.  Nearly six years ago, Mobin Trust Consortium bought 50 percent of TCI's shares worth approximately 78 quadrillion rials ($2.3 billion at market exchange rate). Now the company has a controlling 51-percent share in the company.

Iranian Privatization Organization will be presenting TCI's shares on behalf of Mobin Trust Consortium on Monday. It has been announced that 25 percent of the block will be offered in cash and the rest in installments.    

Only days before TCI's annual assembly meeting in May, TCI's board of directors replaced the company's former CEO, Kazem Ibrahimi. He had held the post for only nine months. The head of the board of directors, Seyyed Mostafa Seyyed Hashemi, then announced Asadollah Dehnad as the acting CEO. Ibrahimi was the company's third CEO after 50 percent of the company was privatized. In the 44-year history of the company, he was the only executive to hold office for only nine months, marking the shortest serving time in that position.

The new block offering is said to be a consequence of the change in administration and the move is expected to help restructure the company's shareholding pattern.

  Under Pressure

TCI has come under mounting criticism in recent months from many private telecoms companies, including the CEO of Shatel, Iran's oldest private Internet provider.

Mohammad Hassan Shanesaz-Zadeh stated at a recent national telecoms conference that his company was being held back by TCI due to their intransience on upgrading infrastructure. The director went on to say that thousands are on the waiting list for ADSL due to lack of new connections and old infrastructure. He added that his company still does not have a new contract with the only telecommunications provider, an issue that is hampering expansion efforts.    

TCI's infrastructure and investment issues are not only related to inside the country, recently one British businessman said that his telephone provider said it was no longer accepting calls to and from TCI due to being owed money by the company.

  Government Agenda

During the debates in the country's parliament, Mahmoud Vaezi, the telecoms minister, stated that expansion of high-speed Internet would be one of his top priorities. He also outlined plans to promote the development of the ICT sector as a “prerequisite for industrial and economic growth.”

Vaezi's plans focus on four objectives. As a first priority, he has pledged to focus on “people’s rights and expectations.” The second objective revolves around the development of the needed infrastructure with special attention to the introduction of e-governance solutions. Thirdly, Vaezi intends to promote technological cooperation between universities and the industry to develop indigenous solutions for the country’s needs. Finally, he has promised to improve the quality of services.

The future CEO of the national telecoms giant, whoever takes over permanently, is likely to have a lot of work on his hands attempting to handle the multiple long-term issues, while also being restricted by government pricing structures.