Orascom Looking to Reduce Stake in Zimbabwean Mobile Network

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Orascom Telecom Holdings is looking to reduce its stake in the Zimbabwean mobile network, Telecel Zimbabwe to 49 percent from 60 percent and has entered into talks with Zimbabwe's government about the sale.

The sale is to comply with the country's restrictions on foreign ownership of businesses that limits them to a a non-controlling stake in the company. Zimbabwe's Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act aims to transfer at least 51 percent control of all foreign-owned firms, including mines and banks, to locals.

Although the law was passed three years ago, the current government announced last week that it will give companies 45 days to submit plans to explain how they will comply with the law. Any such plans will have to be implemented within 6 months.

Telecel Zimbabwe is the country's second largest mobile-phone operator with 1.8 million subscribers, and is currently 40 percent owned by a holding company controlled by President Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe.