VimpelCom agrees to sell African assets

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Operator group VimpelCom is to sell its interests in operations in Burundi and Central Africa Republic (CAR) for a combined $65 million.

Its subsidiary Global Telecom Holding is to sell Telecel Globe Limited, which owns all of Burundi operator U-COM and Telecel in CAR.

It is being acquired by Econet Wireless Global Limited, a South African telecommunications group which has operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America and around the Pacific.

Andrew Davies, VimpelCom’s CFO, said the move is a result of the group’s “Value Agenda” strategy, as part of which it has been reviewing its operations to assess their future value to the company.

Global Telecom Holding, which is 51.9 per cent owned by VimpelCom, had previously agreed to sell Telecel Globe in the first quarter of 2013, but the deal was not closed with the prospective purchaser forfeiting a deposit.

VimpelCom, which operates in 14 countries across Europe and Asia, announced a deal in September to sell its stake in Canadian operator Wind Mobile for $122 million, with the proceeds going towards the repayment of its debt.

In August it was reported that the sale of Global Telecom Holding’s 51 per cent stake in Algerian operator Djezzy to the country’s government had taken a step closer after the agreed price was deemed fair.

The Amsterdam-headquartered group’s biggest assets are its Russian number-three operator of the same name, and Wind, the third largest operator in Italy.

It saw sales and net profit plummet during Q2, with the company pinning much of the blame on a difficult economic climate, particularly in Russia and the Ukraine, and rising network costs.

Source: Mobile World 20 October 2014