Qatar Telecom (“Qtel” or “The Qtel Group”) Q.S.C. announced today that it has signed, via Wataniya Telecom, a 52.5% subsidiary of Qtel (“National Mobile Telecommunications Company K.S.C.” or “Wataniya” or “NMTC”), an agreement with a consortium led by Princesse Holding of Tunisia to jointly acquire from Orascom Telecom Holding (“Orascom Telecom”) their 50% shareholding in Orascom Telecom Tunisie (“Tunisiana”). Wataniya has an existing 50% shareholding in Tunisiana.
Under the terms of the agreement, Wataniya and the Princesse Holding consortium (the “Partners”) will acquire the stock for USD 1,200m. The Partners will work with the Tunisian authorities to finalise the transaction and anticipate closing with Orascom Telecom in early January 2011. Wataniya will finance its portion of the transaction with a mixture of existing cash and debt, and now will control the Board and management of Tunisiana, allowing it to fully consolidate the business.
His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, Chairman of the Qtel Group commented:
”The acquisition is in line with the Qtel Group’s vision for 2020, which aims to position us among the top 20 telecommunications companies in the world, and with our strategy of active portfolio development, through which we may seek to increase our ownership in well performing assets, with further growth potential. We are rightly proud of our record of financially disciplined expansion, and we are pleased to have secured the additional Tunisiana stock at a good price.
Tunisiana has been an outstanding asset within our portfolio and Tunisiana has been able to establish its position as a leading communications company in Tunisia.
We have a successful history of working with well established and highly respected local partners, and we are delighted to have entered into partnership with the Princesse Holding consortium, one of Tunisia’s blue chip conglomerates, chaired by Mohamed Sakher El Materi. We are confident that with the support and active participation of Princesse Holding, we will be able to take Tunisiana to the next stage of its development and offer the Tunisian public innovative, advanced and competitive communications services for years to come.”
With this transaction, Qtel Group consolidates its position as the largest communications Group in the MENA region, with nine controlled operations.
Qatar Telecom (Qtel) Q.S.C. is a diversified telecommunications company with a presence in 17 countries, providing voice and data services to people and businesses, and bringing advanced technology to more than 68 million customers. Qtel is committed to expansion in the MENA region where it is the largest telecommunications company by number of operations, and South East Asia. Qtel’s vision is to be among the top 20 telecommunications companies in the world by 2020.
About Princesse Holding
Princesse Holding Group is a Tunisian diversified holding company with strategic investments in a variety of growth sectors benefiting from the ongoing development of the Tunisian economy. The Group’s existing asset base includes investments in car distribution, cruise tourism, real estate, press, media, financial services, and agriculture.
The Group’s aims to develop and consolidate its existing domestic asset base whilst developing its international presence through industrial investments, principally focussed on exportation, and the establishment of strategic partnerships with international groups through co-investment in existing or new opportunities.
The company was founded in 2004 by Tunisian businessman, Mohamed Sakher El Materi and is based in Tunis, Tunisia.
Tunisiana has been one of the market leading mobile telecoms providers in Tunisia since 2008 with over 5.7 million subscribers as of September 30, 2010. Orascom and Wataniya Telecom were jointly awarded the licence to manage Tunisia’s second GSM mobile operator, Tunisiana, in 2002. Qtel acquired a majority shareholding in Wataniya Telecom in 2007.