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Orascom sweeps up Iraq stake

Regional mobile operator Orascom Telecom has inked an agreement to acquire the remaining 37% stake in its Iraqi operation, Orascom Telecom Iraq Corporation — commonly known as Iraqna — for a total consideration of US$60m.

Regional mobile operator Orascom Telecom has inked an agreement to acquire the remaining 37% equity stakes in its Iraqi operation, Orascom Telecom Iraq Corporation — commonly known as Iraqna — for a total consideration of US$60m.

The transaction is expected to be completed immediately with Orascom funding the deal through a combination of debt and internal cash flow. Orascom will acquire the stakes and repay shareholders loans for a total sum of approximately US$60m, with part of the payment deferred to a later date.

Naguib Sawiris, chairman and CEO at Orascom, said: “We are committed to our strategy of focusing on existing core operations by increasing our ownership in these proven markets and sustaining our market position at the same time. Cash generation and operational flexibility will be enhanced by fully controlling Iraqna.”

Through this transaction, Orascom’s proportionate subscriber base and proportionate pre-tax profits will increase by 2.4% and 5.7% respectively compared to the figures published in its financial figures for the first quarter of 2005.

Orascom intends to drive forward the growth and development of mobile markets in Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Tunisia, Iraq and Bangladesh and remains committed to seeking strategic investment opportunities in emerging markets.

Orascom currently operates GSM networks in seven countries across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. In total, some 17.5 million subscribers are already using Orascom services. The countries Orascom operates in have a combined population of 460 million with average mobile telephony penetration standing at just 8%.

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