October 14, 2012 / 9:42 AM / 5 years ago

UAE telco Etisalat will not exit foreign mkts -CEO

DUBAI, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Etisalat, the Gulf’s No.2 telecommunications operator, will not completely sell out of any its foreign markets, the company’s chief executive said on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates firm, which operates in about 17 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, sold a 9.1 percent stake in Indonesian mobile firm PT XL Axiata for $510 million in September, but retained a 4.2 percent holding.

The Indonesian sale, which followed Etisalat’s exit from India, was seen by some analysts as part of a broad push to trim back underperforming foreign units. But chief executive Ahmad Julfar insisted on Sunday that the company would retain its current footprint.

“We are not going to exit any markets,” Julfar told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai. “We are very happy with our international operations, even Africa.” (Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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