Oi reconsiders Africatel sale as Angolan relationship thaws

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Brazilian telecoms group Oi SA is reconsidering the sale of its African holding company Africatel, CEO Bayard Gontijo told Reuters during an interview in New York. The volte face follows Oi’s efforts to patch up its relationship with Unitel of Angola – arguably the jewel in Africatel’s crown. Mr Gontijo commented: ‘We’re working with two scenarios. One is selling the asset. The other one is fixing those old disputes … in a structure where we have the shareholders’ agreement respected by both sides and we can then consolidate Unitel’s numbers … We are changing the centre of gravity from Lisbon to Brasilia.’

Gontijo added that the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), a major shareholder and creditor of the Oi group, has strong business relationships in Angola, which has proved advantageous when negotiating with Unitel’s majority owner, Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos.
Source: Telegeography 12 May 2015