Spain, Qatar eye $1bn Latam investment fund in 2017

Updated 27 November 2016

Spain, Qatar eye $1bn Latam investment fund in 2017

DUBAI: Spain and Qatar hope to sign early next year an agreement to form a $1 billion joint investment fund that would help the Gulf state invest in Latin America, the Spanish ambassador was quoted by Qatari media as saying on Sunday.
Negotiations on the agreement have been stalled for almost a year by political uncertainty in Spain, but could resume once a new minister of trade has been appointed, Ignacio Escobar said, according to the media interview.
Mariano Rajoy was sworn in for a second term as Spain’s prime minister on Oct. 31, giving the country a fully functioning government for the first time in 10 months after two inconclusive elections and fruitless coalition talks.
Officials hope, Escobar said, that the investment deal can be signed during a high-level visit to Qatar by Spanish officials in the “first semester of 2017.”
“This is very interesting for Qatar because the QIA (Qatar Investment Authority) has said many times that they want to invest in Latin America,” Escobar said, in reference to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
“It is a new market for them and it is full of opportunities, and Spain is the perfect gateway for Latin America.”
The QIA has in recent years been seeking to diversify its portfolio away from European assets, announcing in 2014 it would put $20 billion into Asia. In September 2015, the QIA said it would be involved in Qatari plans to invest $35 billion in the US.
Hassad Food, the agricultural arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, said in February 2015 it was looking at possible purchases of Brazilian sugar and poultry assets, although its website does not list any investments on the continent.

STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

Updated 13 July 2020

STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

  • Kingdom’s largest telecom company says it will need an additional two months to complete the deal

CAIRO: The Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the Kingdom’s largest telecom company, said that it will need an additional two months to complete a deal to purchase a 55 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt.

In January, STC was in agreement to buy the stake for $2.4 billion. In April, it extended the process for 90 days due to logistical challenges stemming from the spread of COVD-19. The company said in a statement that it would extend the period again to September for the same reason.

The Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, owns a majority stake in STC. The ownership of Vodafone Egypt is divided between 55 percent for Vodafone International, which is the target percentage of the Saudi purchase offer, 44.8 percent for Telecom Egypt, and the remaining 0.2 percent for small shareholders.

Telecom Egypt is awaiting the results of Vodafone’s evaluation of the final share price to announce its position on the deal. A Telecom Egypt official stated that the company is still awaiting STC’s position regarding the purchase of the share. If the deal is not completed, it may be presented with its rights to acquire Vodafone’s share, which would allow it to take over 99.8 percent of the company’s shares, leaving 0.2 percent for small investors.

Ashraf El-Wardany, an Egyptian communications expert, pointed out the importance of waiting until the procedures between STC and the Vodafone Group are complete. The results will determine the next steps by Telecom Egypt.

El-Wardany said that the Saudi operator must, after completing the relevant studies, submit a final binding offer at the share price and any conditions for purchase. If approved by Vodafone, it must submit the offer with the same conditions and price to Telecom Egypt, provided that the latter responds within a maximum period of 45 days to determine its position regarding the use of the right of pre-emption and the purchase, or lack thereof, of Vodafone’s share.

According to El-Wardany, there are other possible scenarios. Vodafone International may not be convinced of the offer or the conditions presented by the Saudi side and the sale may be withdrawn, or the Vodafone group may be ready to sell and has prepared another buyer for its stake in Egypt in the event of rejecting the Saudi offer. It may also it back away from the deal and continue to operate in Egypt for a few more years.

El-Wardany said that if Telecom Egypt decides not to use the right of pre-emption to acquire the remaining Vodafone shares for any reason, it will continue with its 44.8 percent stake.
It may also resort to selling all of its shares or part of it to the Saudi side or to any company that wants to acquire its stake.

“This raises the question of whether STC can acquire all of Vodafone’s shares,” El-Wardany said, adding that the coming months “will make the answer clear.”