Russia’s Altimo says no plan for new Orascom offer

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Russian firm Altimo said on Sunday it had no plans to launch a new offer to buy out minority shareholders in Orascom Telecom (OTH) after Egypt’s regulator rejected its attempt to reopen its earlier tender.

Orascom Telecom, a heavyweight on the Egyptian Stock Exchange, is 51.9 percent owned by Vimpelcom which in turn is 47.85 percent owned by Altimo.

Altimo launched an offer in April to buy out minority shareholders of Orascom, which has mobile businesses in Canada, Algeria, Pakistan and other markets such as Bangladesh, in a deal worth an estimated $1.8 billion.

But it failed to secure sufficient acceptances from OTH minorities by a deadline last Monday after shareholders with only 15.9 percent of the shares offered to sell, below a minimum 26.6 percent required.

Altimo then asked the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) to waive the minimum take-up requirement for minority shareholders tendering their stock but EFSA turned down the request.

“EFSA didn’t give us the waiver to reopen tender and permitted only withdrawals so we couldn’t proceed with the offer though we were willing to,” Altimo’s vice president Evgeny Dumalkin said on Sunday.

“At the moment there are no plans to launch a new offer,” he said.

OTH shares were trading 6 percent lower on the Egyptian stock exchange at 1100 GMT.

Sources had said that Vimpelcom planned to delist OTH to lower costs by closing down its Egyptian office and improve efficiency by placing OTH assets under Vimpelcom’s direct management.

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