Orascom magnate looks to invest in Africa

Naguib_SawirisMajor Egyptian telecoms magnate, Naguib Sawiris, has said he is looking to invest in businesses in Africa, the Middle East and Europe

Sawiris made the statement in a recent interview with Reuters, having recently sold a major portion of his telecoms assets to VimpelCom. Last year Sawiris divested assets including Italy’s Wind and Algerian unit Djezzy, to VimpelCom for US$6bn.

Sawiris said that he looks to sell non-core units that are left after the asset sale and use his company Orascom Telecom Media and Technology to acquire some mobile operations and also obtain network licences.

“I want to dispose of assets not aligned with the mobile business,” he told Reuters. “Then make it a mobile company that will go out and seek what's left of operations, including managing existing operations.”

Sawiris said that he is considering opportunities in Libya and Syria. He said if the Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian government falls, new authorities will hold tenders to sell networks currently controlled by Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf. “Then you have fourth-generation licences coming, and Africa where there are still assets left over.”

He also sees acquisition opportunities in Europe and the ability to swell subscribers in North Korea.

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