Hutchison Whampoa and Orascom Telecom have announced a strategic alignment of their mobile business in emerging markets, which will see Orascom buy a 19.3% interest in Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited (HTIL) for HKD10.1 billion (USD1.3 billion). As part of the deal the two partners have agreed a two-year standstill period after which both will have right of first refusal on any sale. Orascom also has first call if Hutchison Whampoa chooses to sell more than 10% in HTIL. According to the companies joint press release, the combined footprint of Orascom and HTIL operations will include important adjoining markets such as Orascom’s operations in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and HTIL’s businesses in India and Sri Lanka, without any overlap. On a combined basis, the pair will control wireless operations in 15 countries covering two billion people, approximately a third of the world’s population. The two groups served 40 million wireless customers at the end of September 2005.