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Algeria mulls purchase of Orascom subsidiary

Minister says government is ready to buy Orascom’s Algerian subsidiary

Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris has been urged by an Algerian minister to make an official statement that he will cease "all negotiations" with MTN Group.
Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris has been urged by an Algerian minister to make an official statement that he will cease "all negotiations" with MTN Group.

The Algerian government is prepared to buy Djezzy, the Algerian subsidiary of Orascom Telecom, according to Hamid Bessalah, Algeria's minister of postal services, information and communication technologies.

Bessalah said that the Algerian state wanted to buy Orascom Telecom Algeria "in its entirety" according to a report from AP.

The development follows closely from news that the Algerian government would seek to block any deal that would lead to MTN buying Orascom Telecom's Algerian subsidiary.

The AP report added that Bessalah complained that Orascom Telecom had started talks with MTN Group before informing the relevant Algerian authorities. Under Algerian law, Orascom was required to notify the country's regulators, Bessalah said.

Bessalah went on to urge Naguib Sawiris, CEO, Orascom, to make an official statement that he is "stopping all negotiations with MTN," the report added.

If Algeria is successful in blocking Orascom's sale of Djezzy to MTN it could derail any deal between the two companies, with the Algerian unit accounting for some 37% of Orascom Telecom's revenues.