Bloomberg News

Orascom Telecom Drops as Algeria Denies Djezzy Bid: Cairo Mover

March 29, 2012

Orascom Telecom Holding SAE (ORTE) fell to the lowest in more than a week after Algeria said it has yet to decide on a purchase price for a stake in its Djezzy unit, which was also ordered to pay a fine in a court ruling.

Shares of the Cairo-based company retreated 1.2 percent to 4.09 Egyptian pounds at the 2:30 p.m. close in Cairo, the lowest level since March 20. The shares rose as much as 9.9 percent in early trading today after Reuters reported Algeria had agreed to pay $6.5 billion for a controlling stake in Djezzy. The EGX 30 Index (EGX30) retreated 0.4 percent.

Orascom said yesterday an Algerian court fined Djezzy about $1.3 billion for violating foreign-exchange regulations, a ruling the company is appealing. Algeria is in talks to buy a stake in Djezzy from Russian company VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP:US), which merged with Orascom last year. It is still discussing a purchase price for the 51 percent stake, Finance Minister Karim Djoudi said in an interview today.

“The court ruling is making investors realize the Djezzy issue may take more time to be resolved,” said Tamer Nigm, head of sales and trading at Cairo-based Watheeqa Securities Brokerage. “There’s a lack of clarity surrounding the Djezzy sale.”

Orascom’s London-traded shares had surged as much as 25 percent yesterday on more than 1,000 percent their average daily-traded volume in the prior six months after the Reuters report. They closed 3.9 percent lower yesterday and fell another 4.8 percent today to $3.21, set for the lowest close since Jan. 31, at 2:22 p.m. in London.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ahmed A Namatalla in Cairo at anamatalla@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net


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Companies Mentioned

  • VIP
    (VimpelCom Ltd)
    • $4.11 USD
    • 0.44
    • 10.71%
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