Government buyout of mobile operator unclear
The valuation of Orascom Telecom’s Algerian subsidiary Djezzy come as “no surprise”, according to Orascom’s chairman Khaled Bichara.
According to Algerian newspaper Tout Sur Algerie, law firm Sherman & Sterling finalised its valuation for Djezzy at $7bn, but the government has delayed the process and has postponed the announcement, according to the report. The Algerian government had previously stated it would be willing to pay about $2-3bn for the mobile operator.
“We read the valuation in the news, there has been no official information, but it comes as no surprise as [South Africa’s] MTN valued it at $7.8bn previously,” says Bichara.
He refused to indicate whether the Algerian government had made any further indication of buying out Djezzy. In December 2010, Algeria’s telecoms minister Moussa Benhamadi indicated the state would buy a 51 per cent share in the company, with an international partner set to take the remaining 49 per cent.
Orascom Telecom’s shares increased by 7.2 per cent with news of the valuation, helping the benchmark EGX 30 gain 1.9 per cent at closing.
Orascom Telecom is still awaiting the demerger of its Egyptian telecommunications and media operations after its merger with Russia’s Vimpelcom.
“The demerger had a 96 per cent approval and we are working with the authorities to get it done. We hope it will be completed before the end of the year,” says Bichara.