Tunisiana sold to Qtel, others for $1.2bn
Tunis, November 22, 2010
Orascom Telecom has sold the remaining half of its stake in its Tunisian operation to a consortium involving Qatar Telecom's Kuwaiti unit Wataniya for $1.2 billion, the Qatari operator said on Monday.
Wataniya, which had already owned 50 percent of Tunisiana, bought the remaining stake from Orascom in a consortium led by Princesse Holding of Tunisia, Qtel said in a statement.
"The acquisition is in line with the Qtel Group's vision ...and with our strategy of active portfolio development, through which we may seek to increase our ownership in well performing assets, with further growth potential," Qtel's chairman Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani said in the statement.
The consortium said it will work with Tunisian authorities to finalise the transaction and expects to close the deal with Orascom early January 2011. Wataniya will finance its portion of the deal through a mixture of cash and debt.
Orascom is in talks to sell assets to Russian group VimpelCom, a deal that would create the world's fifth biggest mobile phone operator.
Qtel has expanded rapidly abroad to mitigate the loss of its monopoly after Vodafone Qatar, a unit of Britain's Vodafone, entered the Qatari market.
Qtel's $1.5 billion bond sale in October attracted subscriptions exceeding $1.5 billion. It later launched a $1.25 billion two-part debt issue. - Reuters