Orascom to sell African holdings

Egypt's Orascom Telecom (OTH) says that a major step has been taken in the sale of its controlling stake in Congo Brazzaville's GSM business, Libertis, as well as its indirect holding in Oasis Telecom in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  May 26, 2005

Egypt's Orascom Telecom (OTH) says that a major step has been taken in the sale of its controlling 65% equity stake in Congo Brazzaville's GSM business, Libertis, as well as its indirect 100% equity stake in its operator in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Oasis Telecom. Total consideration, including debt, for 100% of both operations is US$130 million. The divestiture advances OTH's announced program to strengthen its financial profile and streamline its geographic presence. OTH developed the Libertis operation from launch in 2000 into a highly profitable business with increasing market share each year. The subscriber base increased to over 165,000 subscribers representing approximately 38% market share and total market penetration now exceeds 14% with high revenue per subscriber in a growing market. OTH acquired its stake in Oasis through its ownership in Telecel International in April 2000, and expanded the subscriber base to over 75,000 in spite of aggressive competition. The company's recent expansion outside of the major center of Kinshasa shows the potential of the company to expand as evidenced in the last two years since OTH assumed management control. After completion of the sale, OTH will continue to hold two sub-Saharan GSM mobile services operations in Zimbabwe and Tchad. Mr. Naguib Sawiris, Chairman & CEO of OTH affirmed, 'This transaction is in line with our strategy to concentrate on our core assets in Algeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq & Bangladesh and dispose of our non core subsidiaries in Africa. We can now focus our attention on building value and increasing Orascom Telecom's returns through those six core assets.

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