Orascom denies report of sale - Mobile World Live

Orascom denies report of sale

09 NOV 2009

Orascom Telecom, the biggest mobile phone operator in the Middle East and North Africa, has said it isn’t for sale, following an article in the U.K.’s Sunday Times that reported the company may be sold for US$17 billion. The report said informal discussions over the future of Orascom have already been held with Deutsche Telekom, while other possible buyers include Vodafone, Spain’s Telefonica and France Telecom. The company’s CEO and Chairman, Naguib Sawiris, said in a statement: “Orascom Telecom is not on auction and my family and I have no interest in exiting the telecommunications industry and view ourselves as long term, strategic players.”

Orascom, the biggest listed company on the Egyptian stock exchange, has spent almost ten years buying licenses in emerging markets with high populations and low mobile penetration, such as Algeria, Iraq and Bangladesh. Speculation surrounding a full sale follows the company’s decision last week to sell its 14.2 percent stake in Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTIL) to HTIL’s parent Hutchison Whampoa. Earlier this month the company also sold 100 percent of Iraqna, its Iraqi unit, for US$1.2 billion to Zain, the Kuwaiti phone company formerly known as Mobile Telecommunications Company. Orascom said on December 3 that its Q3 profit more than doubled, with total subscriber numbers rising by six million to 64.7 million.

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