Qatar Telecom to acquire Tunisiana for $1.2 bln

DOHA — Qatar Telecom announced on Monday that it has teamed up with a Tunisian consortium led by Princesse Holding to acquire a remaining 50 percent share in Orascom Telecom Tunisie, Tunisiana, for 1.2 billion dollars.

By (AFP)

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Published: Mon 22 Nov 2010, 7:34 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 11:33 AM

Qtel has signed the agreement through its subsidiary Watiniya Telecom, in which it owns a 52.5 percent stake and which already controls a 50 percent shareholding in Tunisiana.

The partners will work with the Tunisian authorities to finalise the transaction, a statement said, adding that a deal with Orascom Telecom is expected to be closed in early January.

“The acquisition is in line with the Qtel Group’s vision for 2020, which aims to position us among the top 20 telecommunications companies in the world,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al-Thani, chairman of the Qtel Group.

Cairo-based Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) confirmed Monday that it has entered into a share purchase agreement with Qtel over its entire share in Orascom Telecom Tunisie, saying that the transaction will be completed by January 2.

It said that the deal amounted to 6.7 times Tunisiana’s earning in 2009 before deducting interests, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

Weather Investments, the parent firm of Orascom, and VimpelCom, supported the divestment from Tunisiana, saying it was “in accordance with the Share Sale and Exchange Agreement” signed between the two parties on October 4.

The two groups had agreed to merge in a deal which upon completion will create the world’s fifth largest mobile telecommunications group by subscribers.

The cash generated from the sale of the stake in Tunisiana will be used in part to repay Orascom Telecom’s outstanding indebtness, the two groups said in a joint statement.

Qtel is the largest company in the Middle East and North Africa by number of operations, with a presence in 17 countries and more than 68 million customers.

“Tunisiana has been an outstanding asset within our portfolio and Tunisiana has been able to establish its position as a leading communications company in Tunisia,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

Tunisiana is the second mobile operator in Tunisia. It has over 5.7 million subscribers.

Princesse Holding is a diversified company led by Sakher El Materi, the son in law of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. It has investments in car distribution, tourism, property, media, financial services and agriculture.

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