Vodafone Egypt chief confirms sale talks are still on, says VFE will make full use of new spectrum in 18-24 months
INVESTMENT WATCH- Vodafone Egypt chief confirms sale talks are still on, says VFE will make full use of new spectrum in 18-24 months. Vodafone Egypt expects to maximize the usage of its new frequencies within the next 18-24 months, CEO Mohamed Abdallah said at a press conference yesterday, according to Al Mal. The company is still waiting to receive the two 20-MHz bands it recently purchased from the regulator for USD 540 mn, Abdallah said, adding that the new spectrum will be used to increase data usage and improve voice services.
Vodafone will not be seeking a loan to fund the purchase, the CEO said. The company will pay 50% of the amount in USD, and 25% in each of the coming two years in USD or EGP equivalent, said External Affairs and Legal Director Ayman Essam.
Telecom Egypt and Etisalat Misr also picked up spectrum in the recent auction. Etisalat Misr picked up two 10-MHz bands for USD 325 mn while Telecom Egypt bought a similar package at a discounted price of USD 305 mn.
Meanwhile, acquisition talks between Vodafone Group and Saudi Telecom (STC) are continuing, Abdallah said, without providing further details. The two companies vowed to continue talks in September after STC was unable to agree a price with Vodafone by the deadline set by a MoU signed in January. The Saudi company initially submitted a non-binding bid of USD 2.39 bn for the 55% stake, but talks to reduce the valuation later broke down. Telecom Egypt, which owns the remaining 45% of the company, could be about to exercise its right of first refusal, with sources telling the press in September that five banks are on board to finance its purchase of Vodafone Group’s stake