Egypt’s Global Telecom in for $600m buyout

Traffic on 6th October bridge and Ramses Street in Cairo. Egypt’s blue-chip index has risen for a ninth straight session, with 27 of its 30 stocks up. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2019
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Egypt’s Global Telecom in for $600m buyout

  • Veon’s offer for the stake in Global, formerly known as Orascom, represents a 20 percent premium to its closing price on Monday and is worth $600 million
  • Veon, based in Amsterdam, operates telecommunications companies in Russia and in developing countries in Asia and North Africa

AMSTERDAM/CAIRO: Telecoms operator Veon said on Tuesday it intends to offer 5.30 Egyptian pounds ($0.3005) per share for the 42.3 percent of Cairo-listed Global Telecom Holding it does not already own.
The offer for the stake in Global, formerly known as Orascom, represents a 20 percent premium to its closing price on Monday and is worth $600 million.
Veon, based in Amsterdam, operates telecommunications companies in Russia and in developing countries in Asia and North Africa. It holds a 55.6 percent stake in Global, which operates the Djezzy network in Algeria, Mobilink in Pakistan and Sheba Telecom in Bangladesh.
Veon said in a statement it has not yet submitted the offer to Egyptian financial authorities and it would not comment further. It called off a previous attempt to buy out Global’s assets in October.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund will conduct its final review of Egypt’s three-year $12 billion loan program in June, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said on Tuesday.
The IMF announced on Monday that it was disbursing the fifth out of six $2 billion tranches, after completing its fourth review of the program.
Foreign investors hold $13.1 billion in Egyptian treasuries, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk said on Tuesday.
Kouchouk had last put the figure at $14 billion as of end-September, after a turbulent summer for emerging markets with weakened investor appetite.
Foreign investors bought Egyptian treasury bills and bonds worth $900 million in January, Maait said.
The average yield on bonds in the period from July until December was 18.5 percent, and the average yield on treasury bills sold in the same period was 19.5 percent, Kouchouk said.


Hong Kong economy stalls amid US-China trade dispute: finance chief

Updated 17 February 2019
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Hong Kong economy stalls amid US-China trade dispute: finance chief

  • ‘The impact of China-US trade frictions on Hong Kong’s exports has clearly emerged at the end of last year’
  • Economic growth in the semi-autonomous Chinese city for the last quarter of 2018 was less than 1.5 percent

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s economy stalled last year as the ongoing China-US trade dispute and retail woes dragged down local business, the city’s financial chief said Sunday.
Beijing and Washington have already imposed duties on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, roiling global financial markets and weighing heavily on manufacturing output in both countries.
“The impact of China-US trade frictions on Hong Kong’s exports has clearly emerged at the end of last year,” said finance secretary Paul Chan.
Economic growth in the semi-autonomous Chinese city for the last quarter of 2018 was less than 1.5 percent — the weakest since the first quarter of 2016 and a “significant slowdown” from the average growth rate of 3.7 percent in the first three quarters, Chan wrote on his official blog.
The slowdown brought last year’s growth rate to an estimated three percent, down from the higher-than-forecast 3.8 percent recorded in 2017, he added.
“It was almost ‘zero-growth’ for commodities exports in the fourth quarter, which was a sharp drop compared to the average 6 percent growth in the first three quarters,” he wrote.
Chan said consumer sentiment had also dampened with retail sales rising only 2.1 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, a far cry from the more than 12 percent increase in the first half of the year.
“The external political and economic situation remains unclear ... Therefore, we repeatedly stress the need to support enterprises, safeguard employment, stabilize the economy and benefit people’s livelihoods,” he wrote, hinting at the ongoing trade negotiations between the world’s top two economies.
Chan is expected to deliver the Hong Kong budget on February 27.