Qatar is in advanced talks to buy around $2.5bn of state-held stakes in Egypt’s biggest mobile network operator Vodafone Egypt and other companies, as the North African nation lines up funding to cope with the economic fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Under the potential pact, which is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) would acquire 20% in Vodafone Egypt from Telecom Egypt, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The QIA is the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund and oversees an estimated $445bn in assets, according to Bloomberg.
State-owned Telecom Egypt, which began operating in 1854 with the first telegraph line connecting Cairo and Alexandria, acquired its 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt to gain a strategic foothold in the mobile telecommunications market prior to founding its own provider, WE, in 2017. The UK’s Vodafone Group owns 54.9% stake of Vodafone Egypt, and while there was an agreement to sell a majority stake in the company to its Johannesburg-based subsidiary Vodacom Group Ltd. for $2.7bn last year that transaction hasn’t closed.
Sources close to the Negotiation daily news Egypt that: the next week It may witness the entry of part of the Qatari investments to acquire Egyptian companies owned by the Egyptian government, including listed companies.
They added that the deal to buy Telecom Egypt’s stake in Vodafone will take more time, because of the nature of the necessary approvals from regulators.