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Algeria says talks with Vimpelcom over Djezzy still in progress

Negotiations over Djezzy are still being conducted despite bad blood following a recent legal ruling, say sources

Reuters, Monday 9 Apr 2012
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Negotiations between the Algerian government and Vimpelcom over the firm's Djezzy mobile phone unit have not stopped, Algeria's telecommunications minister said, despite a row between the parties over a $1.25 billion fine.

The minister, Moussa Benhamadi, said the negotiations "are still being conducted", Algeria's official APS news agency reported late on Sunday.
 
Sources in the Algerian government and close to Vimpelcom told Reuters last week relations between the two sides had deteriorated because of the fine imposed on Djezzy and that Vimpelcom was considering going to international arbitration.
 
Algeria's government is nationalising a 51 per cent stake in Djezzy, and negotiations are now focused on how much it will pay Vimpelcom for the share.
 
Vimpelcom took over Djezzy as part of a $6 billion deal last year to acquire the assets of Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom , but since then the unit has effectively been in limbo, with its future ownership undecided and a block on it transferring money abroad.
 
A court imposed the $1.25 billion fine on Djezzy after ruling it made false statements to the Algerian central bank. Vimpelcom, which is 35 per cent owned by Norwegian group Telenor , has said it will appeal.
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