Orascom Tel won't pay 2009 dividend
Cairo, April 27, 2010
Egypt's Orascom Telecom will not pay a cash dividend for 2009 as it retains its funds to fight a tax bill in Algeria, the company told the stock exchange on Tuesday after its annual general meeting.
Orascom raised $800 million via a rights issue finalised in March to ensure adequate liquidity as it challenges the $597 million tax bill plus penalties in Algerian courts.
It has paid the full amount plus $49 million in penalties, but still has one of three appeals pending.
The firm's Algerian unit Djezzy is the focus of sale talks with South Africa's MTN, a government source said on Monday.
Algeria has blocked the international operator from transferring profit out of the country, though Orascom said in September it would be allowed to repatriate half its 2008 Djezzy dividends.
Orascom paid a cash dividend equivalent to 0.20 Egyptian pounds per share in August 2009 and June 2008.
Its shares are suspended pending a material announcement due later on Tuesday. They lasted traded at 7.56 pounds on Thursday.-Reuters