Veon offloads stake in Omnium Telecom Algeria
Today, international mobile operator Veon has announced that it has sold its 45.57% stake in Omnium Telecom Algeria, the company that owns Djezzy, Algeria’s second-largest mobile provider.
The deal will reportedly net the company around $682 million, increasing Veon’s liquidity to $3.1 billion.
The buyer is the Algerian National Investment Fund (AIF), which was set up in 2021 as a collaboration between the Bank of Algeria and the External Bank of Algeria. The AIF has already been investing in Algerian start-ups alongside Algeria’s public start-up accelerator, Algeria Venture.
For Veon, the deal will help continue to simplify the company’s portfolio and focus on other markets that exhibit stronger growth.
VEON offers services to customers in 12 markets including Russia, Italy, Algeria, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia, and Laos. Of these, Pakistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan are viewed as ‘growth engines’, while Bangladesh and Algeria were described as ‘frontier markets’ in Veon’s Q1 results presentation back in 2021.
Veon sold its operations in Armenia, a market of similar size and slim margins, back in 2020.
“The regulatory environment in Algeria was very restrictive in that sense […] infrastructure sharing and monetisation is also restricted,” explained Veon Chief Executive Kaan Terzioglu. “We built a beautiful enterprise. But when the strategic aspirations don’t meet, we thought it would be the best thing for us to sell our shares to the government.”