Algeria opposes Orascom-MTN deal

Naguib Sawiris, Orascom CEO
Algeria’s government has decided to block MTN’s acquisition of Orascom Telecom’s Algerian unit.

The Telecomunications Ministry yesterday confirmed the government’s strong opposition to the deal.

“The government is opposed to the planned deal between MTN and Orascom with regard to the company OTA (Orascom Telecom Algerie). Therefore any transaction concerning OTA will be null and could lead to the withdrawal of the telephone license granted to the company”, said the ministry in a statement, quoted by Algeria’s APS news agency.

The ministry urged Orascom to contact Algerian authorities before further negotiations with MTN.

“In the event that Orascom intends to divest itself of OTA, it is incumbent upon it to discuss the conditions with the Algerian state, which has decided to exercise its right of pre-emption to the entire capital of this company”, it said.

He said any incompliance with these rules would attract “the procedure of expropriating the current OTA shareholders”. Also, the Algerian unit is forbidden to be part of any deal until its tax payments and future ownership are resolved, concluded the ministry.