Algerian government appoints law firm to advise it over Djezzy

Ahram online, Tuesday 11 Jan 2011

Shearman & Sterling expected to conclude its evaluation of Orascom's Algerian unit


The Algerian government has appointed law firm Shearman & Sterling to advise it over the nationalization of Djezzy, the local mobile phone unit of Orascom Telecom (OT), according to Reuters.

The law firm is expected to complete its evaluation of the mobile phone unit, over which the government and OT have been in dispute for over 100 days.

Djezzy was the largest single source of revenue for OT, but uncertainty over its future has cast a doubt on the planned $6.6 billion merger with Russian telecoms firm VimpelCom.

The Algerian government accuses Djezzy of non-payment of taxes estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars and has prevented the company from transferring profits abroad.

Orascom Telecom has  accepted reluctantly to enter into talks for the nationalization of the unit, but is not yet clear because if the state will buy all or part of Djezzy.

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