(Bloomberg) --

Vodafone Group’s largest shareholder, Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Telecommunications Group, is seeking investments around the world to propel itself into a global technology company.

The Abu Dhabi-based firm is in a growth phase and has the “capacity and the wallet” to invest this year, Chief Executive Officer Hatem Dowidar said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Emirates Telecom, a $60 billion regional behemoth, will look at opportunities in Europe, Asia and Africa, he said.

The firm became the largest shareholder in Vodafone after acquiring a 9.8% stake last year and has since boosted its holdings to 14%. Etisalat currently doesn’t plan to bid for all of the British firm, but has regulatory approval to raise its stake to 15%, Dowidar said. 

While Etisalat’s debt nearly doubled to 48 billion dirhams ($13 billion) in 2022 — mainly to finance its investment in Vodafone — the deal helped it to diversify, giving it access to a company that is predominately Europe-based and with revenues mostly in euros and British pounds. 

Dowidar also labeled Africa as an “interesting” market in terms of growth in population. The carrier is studying the feasibility of an offer for part or all of Vodafone’s stake in its African business Vodacom Group, Bloomberg reported in December. 

Regionally, Emirates Telecom is also seeking to increase its shareholding in Saudi Arabia’s Mobily in a deal that could be valued over $2 billion.

Shares in Emirates Telecom — previously known as Etisalat and now rebranded as e& — have lost close to a third of their value over the past months. The stock’s recouped some of those losses this year, having risen about 12%.

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