On the Money – In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

* The Algerian government has declared that it is only willing to negotiate with Orascom Telecom about the purchase of the company’s local mobile unit, Djezzy, and not with Russian telco Vimpelcom, which has agreed to buy a majority stake in the Algerian telco. Earlier this month, Vimpelcom, Russia’s second-largest mobile operator by subscribers, and Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris agreed to merge their telecommunications assets in a transaction valued at about USD6.5 billion. Algerian government envisions a figure in the range of USD2 billion–USD3 billion for the cellco.

* The government of Guinea-Bissau has announced that Portugal Telecom (PT) is no longer a shareholder in the country’s fixed line monopoly Guine Telecom (GT) and its mobile arm Guinetel. A press release from the government states: ‘The minister of economy has informed the Council of Ministers about the progress of negotiations, which based on a friendly agreement led to the cession of the shares held by PT, representing 40% of GT’s share capital, and the shares held by Portugal Telecom Internacional (PTI), representing 55% of the share capital of GT.’ PTI bought a 49% stake in GT in 1989, but its decision to leave the country in June 1998, at the outbreak of the civil war forced the state to take management control of GT in July 2008, amid accusations that PT had effectively walked away from the two companies. In February 2009 the situation was muddied when PTI claimed it still held a 40% stake in GT and Guinetel.

* MTN Nigeria has signed a deal worth over USD40 million with Chinese equipment supplier Huawei Technologies for the deployment of rural telephony infrastructure in roughly 350 villages across the country before the end of May 2011 while 500 villages will be covered in the second phase before the end of December 2011.’ Following research into Nigeria’s telecoms sector, MTN concluded that around 500 villages and communities and 40 million Nigerians do not have access to basic telephony services. Under the project, Huawei will deploy environment friendly base stations that consume low energy.

* The head of the Tunis stock exchange has confirmed that Tunisie Telecom (TT) is planning a dual listing by the end of this year on the Tunis exchange and a European bourse. Speaking to Reuters, Mohamed Bichiou, chief executive officer of the Tunis stock exchange, said the Tunisian state would contribute 10% of the company's shares, while a further 10% would come from the company’s United Arab Emirates shareholders. TT is majority owned by the state while Dubai’s TECOM Investments and Dubai Investment Group (DIG) jointly hold 35%.Last month Tunisia sold a 3G licence to Tunisie Telecom’s wireless arm Tunicell for USD80 million, putting it on a level footing with rival wireless network operator Orange Tunisia, which secured its W-CDMA concession in July 2009 and has been offering 3G services since May this year.