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Sawiris to ask for Vimpelcom board seats

May 11, 2011 • Top Stories

Naguib Sawiris, Egyptian tycoon (Image: file photo)

According to local newspaper reports, Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris is expected to ask Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom for three seats on the board within 6 months. It comes as the Wind Telecom chairman looks at alternatives if an existing shareholders agreement is scrapped.

Sawiris will ask Vimpelcom for the seats in the first shareholders’ meeting after any cancellation of the agreement, which gives key Vimpelcom stakeholders Altimo and Telenor three board seats each, Egyptian business newspaper al-Mal reported.

“Sawiris explained … that Wind has a 34 per cent voting right, by virtue of the deal, which gives it a right to get three seats on Vimpelcom’s board, and such procedures could end within six months,” the report stated.

When contacted, Orascom Telecom, owned by Wind and Sawiris, said the reports are correct and they hope to achieve the seats “as soon as possible.”

Sawiris became a 30.6 per cent shareholder in Vimpelcom last month after Russia’s third largest mobile phone operator closed a more than $6 billion deal for Wind Telecom, including Orascom Telecom and Italy’s Wind.

Vimpelcom’s key Russian shareholder Altimo said in April it expected to scrap a 2009 shareholder agreement with Norway’s Telenor to allow Sawiris roughly equal rights in Vimpelcom.

By Desmond Shephard

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