Portugal Telecom maintains stake in Unitel after negotiating with Angolan private investors

28 September 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 28 Sept – Portugal Telecom (PT) is to maintain its shareholding in Unitel, after having reached an agreement with the private shareholders of Angola’s largest mobile operator on the terms of a management contract between shareholders.

A source from the Portuguese carrier told Portuguese daily newspaper Diário de Notícias, that “the problems have been overcome” and that the new agreement would be made official at Unitel next general meeting set for the first half of October.

The “crisis” between shareholders began before the Summer when Angolan private shareholders rejected the possibility that PT would increase its stake to 50 percent of the capital, as outlined by the current contract and threatened to force the Portuguese company out of Unitel.

Unitel, which is one of PT’s international businesses to have grown most over the last few years was considered to be one of the group’s strategic assets.

Unitel, which recently overtook Angola Telecom as the largest mobile carrier in the country, was set up in 2000, via a partnership between PT and Angolan investors.

The two companies are currently involved in consortia, led by PT, with the aim of expanding into regional markets, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Namibia.

In 2004, the latest figures available, sales at Unitel more than doubled to US$245 million driven by exponential growth of its customer base.

Unitel currently provides voice and data services to around 1.4 million customers, a number three-fold that of 2004. (macauhub)