NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Cairo, Egypt, 2007/02/07 - Weather Investments S.p.A. (“Weather”), owned and controlled by the Sawiris family, agreed to acquire the company that holds 100% of the shares of TIM Hellas Telecommunications S.A. (“TIM Hellas”).
TIM Hellas is the third largest mobile operator in Greece with more than 3 million subscribers as of September 30th 2006. Completion of the transaction will be subject to European Commission anti-trust and local regulatory approvals.
The EUR 500 million equity consideration will be financed with debt at Weather provided by Citibank, Banca IMI and Deutsche Bank. Weather intends to maintain the current capital structure at TIM Hellas consisting of net debt of approximately Euro 2.9 Billion as of December 2006. To the extent this is not possible Deutsche Bank and Citibank have provided a financing commitment.
The executive management team of TIM Hellas which was appointed in 2005 will remain in place following the acquisition. Since their appointment, TIM Hellas acquired Q-Telecom, the fourth largest mobile operator from Info-Quest S.A. and has enjoyed very strong operational and financial performance. The company is free cash flow positive.
This acquisition further expands Weather’s European footprint beyond Italy consistent with the strategy of the group. Weather, through it’s subsidiary Wind Telecomunicazioni (“Wind”), also holds a 51% stake in Tellas S.A., an alternative fixed line provider in Greece. Mr. Naguib Sawiris stated, “We expect to create significant value for the group by adding TIM Hellas to our portfolio and by further building on group wide synergies at all levels.” Weather will work closely with the existing management to continue the operational turnaround, finalize the consolidation of Q-Telecom, and integrate the operation into the group.
Orascom Telecom (orascomtelecom.com) is not a party to and is not affected in any way by this transaction. There is no additional debt of any kind raised by, guaranteed by, or funded by OTH.
About Weather Investments
Weather is a privately held telecommunication investment company 97% controlled by the Sawiris family and Naguib Sawiris. Weather owns 100% of Wind Telecommunicazioni spa (“Wind”), the third largest mobile operator and second largest fixed line operator in Italy, with more than 14 million mobile subscribers and 2 million fixed line subscribers as of September 30th 2006. Weather also controls and owns 50% plus one share of Orascom Telecom Holding s.a.e. (“OTH”). OTH is a leading international telecommunications company operating GSM networks in seven high growth markets in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, having a total population under license of approximately 460 million with an average mobile telephony penetration of approximately 22% as at 30 September 2006. OTH operates GSM network in Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq Pakistan, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. OTH had over 50 million subscribers as at December 2006. OTH owns 19.3% of Hutchinson Telecommunication International, a leading telecommunication services provider operating in eight countries. OTH is traded on the Cairo and Alexandria stock exchange (ORTE.CA ORAT EY) and has GDRs traded on the London Stock Exchange (ORTEq.l, OTLD LI).
About TIM Hellas
TIM Hellas Telecommunications SA is at the forefront of mobile communications in Greece and its brand stands for innovative products and services. TIM Hellas is the technology leader of its industry since it was the first operator to launch GSM mobile services in Greece in 1993 and also the first operator to offer its customers UMTS services as early as the beginning of 2004. TIM Hellas today offers more than 200 Value Added Services and varied tariff plans to suit the needs of the private and business market in Greece.