Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Egypt’s Orascom set to enter Austrian market

October 7, 2008 in Mobile and Telecoms
Egypt based Orascom Telecom Holding has emerged as the preferred partner for Telkom Austria, media reports said today.

The Austrian state investment company, OeIAG has reportedly hired JP Morgan to find a merger partner for Telekom Austria. The company’s largest single shareholder is the Austrian government, though it’s holding firm, OeIAG.

Austrian newspaper Der Standard said that JP Morgan had concluded that a merger with Orascom Telecom would offer the most benefits, but it was also in talks with Russian and Mid-East based telecoms operators. The newspaper cited sources close to OeIAG and Telekom Austria OeIAG owns 27.37 percent of Telekom Austria, with the rest floated on the stock market. The company has a stock market valuation of around EUR6.9 billion (US$9.8 billion).

Cellular News said it is expected that Orascom would liaise with Weather Investments, which is controlled by Orascom’s majority shareholder, Naguib Sawiris for financing. Weather recently sold 10% of its shares to three private equity firms for EUR1.1 billion. Weather has mobile phone networks across the Middle East, Africa and south Asia through its controlling stake in Orascom Telecom Holding as well as operations in Italy and Greece.

Telekom Austria has operations in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Serbia, Macedonia, Belarus and Czech Republic.