NYSE-listed telecom group with operations in Russia, Italy, and other markets, VimpelCom, is selling two of its sub-Saharan assets and making an allowance for purchasing a Pakistani mobile operator.
The telecom group is believed to have sold its units in Burundi and the Central African Republic for USD 100 million to an African investor running Neil Telecom, Laurent Foucher. The units are currently part of Telecel Global, a VimpelCom possession.
VimpelCom revealed its plans to do away with noncore markets last year in October. Its recent sell-offs in South Asia included Vietnam in April 2012 and Cambodia this past April. These sales represent necessary steps for a re-focusing on the group’s seven priority markets in Eurasia and North Africa.
Russia is one of the priority markets, and the telecom group is one of the three largest operators in the country. Pakistan is another priority, so VimpelCom is currently negotiating with Abu Dhabi Group over the potential acquisition of Warid Telecom.
The Pakistani operator, which may cost VimpelCom as much as USD 1 billion, could become the telecom group’s second asset and represent the group’s second USD 1 billion investment in this Asian country. In December 2012, the company invested the same amount in Pakistan’s Mobilnik.