VimpelCom has sold its majority stake in Omnium Telecom Algeria – previously known as Djezzy – to the Algerian National Investment Fund (FNI) for US$2.6 billion.
The 51% stake was held by VimpelCom’s subsidiary Global Telecom Holding (GTH), which has entered a shareholder agreement with the FNI. GTH will retain operational control over OTA, which will remain fully consolidated within VimpelCom and GTH.
VimpelCom CEO Jo Lunder said in a statement: “We have entered into a long-term relationship with the Algerian National Fund, creating a private-public ownership structure for Djezzy. With this new ownership structure, Djezzy is positioned better than ever to lead the way in Algeria, offering customers high quality mobile services and the best digital experience. The deal, on a group level, also releases significant cash amounts to GTH and VimpelCom to pay down gross debt.”
Closing the deal also closes a somewhat turbulent chapter in Djezzy and VimpelCom’s history. The Netherlands-based group first acquired the Algerian operator in 2011 when it acquired Orascom’s operations for $6 billion.
VimpelCom initially agreed to sell the 51% stake to the Algerian government all the way back in January 2012, although in March that year Djezzy was handed a $1.3 billion fine for flouting regulations concerning foreign currencies. The government reiterated its interest later that year, in September.