PORTUGAL TELECOM PRESSURED TO SELL ITS STAKE IN UNITEL

Telecoms

Portugal Telecom is reportedly coming under pressure to sell its 25% stake in Angola's Unitel - even though the company recently tried to increase its holding in the mobile operator. According to Portuguese newspaper, Jornal de Neg's, the Angolan company recently turned down a request by PT to increase its stake in Unitel to 50%, as had been outlined in the agreement between the companies, and instead started to negotiate a sale by the Portuguese company. Portugal Telecom declined to comment on the subject.

However, a report in Publico said that it is out of the question for Portugal Telecom to accept the wish of the Angolan government to buy PT's 25% stake in Unitel. Unitel was set up in 2000, via a partnership between Portugal Telecom and Angolan investors, and has an agreement to jointly expand into the rest of Africa. Unitel is the market leader in Angola, with about 1.4 million customers. The national population penetration is just over 16%, leaving plenty of growth in a market which is showing strong economic growth following the ending of the civil war there.

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