Sawiris expects Weather IPO by early 2008, confirms acquisitions and divestment strategies

17 Jul 2007

Naguib Sawiris, CEO of Egyptian telecoms group Orascom and head of holding vehicle Weather Investments, said he expects to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of Weather at the end of this year or early 2008. Weather holds 50%-plus-one-share in Orascom, controls Italy’s Wind Telecomunicazioni and holds 100% of Greek mobile operator Wind Hellas (formerly TIM Hellas). Wind Telecomunicazioni holds 50%-plus-one-share in Greek fixed line operator Tellas. ‘We are working on [an IPO] but we are not sure yet if a listing will be in Italy or in London,’ Sawiris said.

Sawiris also confirmed Wind is bidding for the fixed line assets of Tele 2 Italy, and would also be interested in Tiscali’s Italian assets, ‘but only if Tiscali’s management decided to sell them.’ Asked about the planned combining of Wind’s cellular base station infrastructure in Italy with that of rival 3 Italia ahead of an asset sale, Sawiris said that there was definite interest in the combined network: ‘I think Mediaset might be interested. They should be,’ he said. He also confirmed that Weather is considering the sale of Wind Hellas by the end of this year; he previously revealed plans to combine the cellco with Tellas, but only if his group is successful in buying out the fixed line operator’s other shareholder, Greek utility Public Power Corporation.