Vimpelcom struggles to offload Telecel Zimbabwe

Amsterdam-based international Vimpelcom is reportedly struggling to offload its Telecel Globe assets, despite agreeing to sell the company to Niel Telecom for around EUR75 million (USD102 million), TMT Finance reports. According to the article, Luxembourg-based emerging market telecom venture, Niel Telecom agreed to acquire Telecel Globe, which encompasses U-COM Burundi (Leo) and Telecel-RCA (Centrafrique) in Central African Republic (CAR) in July 2013, with the deal reportedly only subject to closing conditions. However, unnamed sources claim that Niel Telecom had struggled to secure sufficient financing to close the deal, with talks now foundering.

Meanwhile, Vimpelcom is also allegedly facing difficulties in divesting its third sub-Saharan asset, Telecel Zimbabwe, as frictions and complexities with the government and local shareholders have impeded any process thus far. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in May 2013 the Zimbabwean mobile operator was told that it must adhere to regulations governing foreign ownership or face losing its wireless concession. The company is currently 60%-owned by Telecel International, a unit of Orascom of Egypt, which is itself owned by Vimpelcom Group, while the law states that 60% of the company’s shares must be locally owned.

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