VimpelCom, one of Russia's three top mobile operators, and Weather Investments S.p.a., an international telecommunications provider owned by Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, have announced their full support for the divestment of the Tunisian operations of Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E., a Weather subsidiary, VimpelCom said on Monday.
In October, VimpelCom signed a $6.6 billion merger agreement with Weather Investments S.p.A, under which the Russian firm will get 51.7 percent of Orascom Telecom, an operator in Africa, Asia and Canada, and 100 percent of Wind Telecomunicazioni S.p.A., an Italian provider, to create the world's fifth largest mobile operator.
Earlier on Monday, Orascom Telecom announced it had executed a share purchase agreement with Qatar Telecom Q.S.C. under which Orascom would sell its entire shareholdings in Orascom Tunisia Holdings and Carthage Consortium, two companies through which Orascom owns 50 percent of Orascom Telecom Tunisie, for $1.2 billion.
"The approval of this sale is consistent with the strategy of exerting full operational control over its core telecom assets. Furthermore, under US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), VimpelCom would not be able to consolidate the financial results of Orascom Telecom Tunisie following completion of the Transaction (the merger agreement between Weather and VimpelCom). Divestment of the Tunisian operations will also have a positive impact on the pro-forma leverage ratios as the proceeds of the sale will be used in part to repay Orascom Telecom's outstanding debt and will therefore reduce the amount of debt that will need to be refinanced by VimpelCom as a result of the Transaction," VimpelCom said.
MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti)