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Orascom to split off assets in 2 mths after merger

Orascom Chairman Naguib Sawiris earlier suggested the demerger could take place within two months.

October 6, 2010 10:39 by



Orascom Telecom hopes to finish splitting off some of its assets about two months after its parent company closes a merger with telecoms group Vimpelcom , Orascom said on Tuesday. The $6.6 billion deal to link the telecoms assets of Weather Investments, which owns over half of Orascom, and the Russian operator includes splitting off Orascom’s stake in Egyptian firm Mobinil , a North Korean unit and other assets.

Orascom Chairman Naguib Sawiris earlier suggested the demerger could take place within two months but did not elaborate. The latest comments indicated the two-month timeline would start once the Vimpelcom deal was closed.

“The expected date for us to do the closing (of the Vimpelcom deal) will be February of next year,” Orascom Chief Executive Officer Khaled Bichara told a news conference. “Two months after that, the demerger will happen.”

One Orascom official said the process could take longer than two months and this would depend on legal and other issues.

The firms said on Monday the assets to be “demerged or disposed will be subject to appropriate documentation and clearances, including Orascom Telecom shareholder approval.”

They added they would seek alternative arrangements if the plans to split off assets could not be completed because of regulatory or other issues.

Sawiris said in comments earlier on Tuesday that the rights of minority shareholders in Orascom would be preserved.

(Reporting by Dina Zayed and Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by David Holmes)



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