Telecom Egypt CEO Mohamed Elnawawy has stated that the fixed-line operator may not sell its 45% stake in Vodafone’s local unit even after it receives its unified licence.
Elnawawy went on to say that Telecom Egypt could even take a controlling stake in Vodafone Egypt, depending on government approval.
“Before we put large capex in spectrum … we would need to look at this asset and decide how to evolve with this asset to be buyers or sellers,” he said. “This depends on their appetite to sell or a promising value for which to exit at … We have not reached that point yet.”
The fixed-line monopoly holder is acquiring a unified licence earlier for $350 million that will allow it to offer mobile services, as well as enabling existing operators Etisalat, Orange and Vodafone to use its fixed network. Its stake in Vodafone Egypt therefore creates a conflict of interest, and it was widely expected that Telecom Egypt would offload this holding.
Egypt’s government owns 80% of Telecom Egypt, and has set up a committee to evaluate how the incumbent should divest its stake in Vodafone Egypt. The fixed operator recently invited proposals from financial institutions to advise on the sale.