OT readies for African sales

06 December 2002

Cairo-based Orascom Telecom (OT)expects to finalise the divestment of 10 sub-Saharan African licences by the end of the year, the company confirmed on 3 December. OT has signed binding agreements for 10 of the 12 GSM licences operated by its African affiliate Telecel International, in which OT acquired an 80 per cent stake for $413 million in 2000 (MEED 25:2:00).

OT's decision to divest all its sub-Saharan assets and sell its stake in Telecel International is in line with the company's move to focus on operations in the Middle East and North Africa. The company has appointed BNP Paribasand the African Merchant Bank to advise on the sale. In June, OT sold its 52.5 per cent stake in Loteny Telecel of Cote d'Ivoire for $40 million to Access Telecom Mauritius, an emerging player in the West African telecoms market (MEED 14:6:02).

OT has recently made major inroads into the North African market, winning the $454 million concession for Tunisia's second GSM licence in May, less than a year after signing Algeria's first private GSM licence for $737 million (MEED 15:3:02; 10:8:01).

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