Vodafone terminates talks with Saudi STC to sell Vodafone Egypt stakes following Sisi meeting

Ahram Online , Monday 21 Dec 2020

Egypt’s President El-Sisi met with CEO of the group on Sunday to discuss cooperation in the IT sector and ways to expand Vodafone operations in Egypt

File Photo: The building of Vodafone Egypt is seen at the Smart Village on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, October 27, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Vodafone Group announced on Monday the termination of discussions with Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to sell 55 percent of Vodafone Egypt stakes to the Riyadh-based company for $2.4 billion.

The announcement comes a day after Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi held a meeting in Cairo with CEO of Vodafone Group Nick Read to discuss cooperation between the group and Egypt’s IT and communications sector.

In a statement published on the British-based company’s website, Read reiterated his trust in the Egyptian government’s efforts to achieve its desired vision for digitisation.

“We believe that the Egyptian government is committed to an optimal framework for the telecoms sector, which will enable Vodafone Egypt to deliver on the country’s vision of digitisation and financial inclusion and create a technology hub to support our growth in the African region,” Read said.

Last year, the Saudi company signed a non-binding deal with Vodafone Group, to buy the 55 percent stake, valuing Vodafone Egypt at $4.4 billion.

The offer was extended in April and again in July, but no deal to conclude the transaction was reached with the British company.

STC cited “misalignment with relevant reasons” and logistical challenges due to the pandemic as reasons behind the extension.

Vodafone Egypt, the largest mobile operator in the country, serves 44 million subscribers with a total market share of 40 percent, according to Reuters. 

Egypt-Vodafone: Mutual benefits

President El-Sisi discussed in the meeting with Read yesterday efforts to boost Vodafone investments in Egypt given the company’s knowledge in the fields of communications and digital transformation, the Presidency said in a statement.

Egypt is seeking to benefit from Vodafone’s knowhow in terms of managing facilities and new cities, which are key factors in the government’s plan to go digital and achieve comprehensive development, El-Sisi said.

Read said he was pleased with the comprehensive development process in Egypt.

Huge national projects underway in Egypt have positively affected the investment climate in the country, Read said. He added this should encourage Vodafone to further expand in Egypt.

Indeed, Egypt is a major communications and IT market in the region, he said, noting that this contributes to achieving sustainable development and upgrading the system of services offered to citizens.

Read told El-Sisi that Vodafone is working to launch a pilot operation of its G5 technology in the New Capital because of its advanced infrastructure.

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