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Oman to privatise airline, telecoms company

Muscat: Oman plans to privatise its loss-making national carrier Oman Air and continue selling chunks of telecoms company Omantel to local investors, Finance Minister Darwish Al Beloushi said on Thursday.

Both operations would come be part of a broader plan of privatising some 60 companies in which the state holds an interest, he said.

As a first step, Oman Air will be broken up into three companies — one for freight, one for ground services and one for passengers.

“A decision on privatisation will be taken subsequently in light of the results at each of the companies,” said Al Beloushi, who is also chairman of the airline.

In 2012, Oman Air’s loss narrowed to 97 million riyals (Dh925.2 million, $251.2 million, €182.4 million) from $285 million a year earlier.

Turning to Omantel, in which the government holds a 70 per cent stake, Al Beloushi said the plan is to offer 9.5 per cent to Omani investors on March 27. That would be on top of an equivalent amount sold in February.

The sale of the combined 19 per cent of the company is expected to generate 140 million riyals for the public coffers.