VEON acquires direct ownership of Jazz, Banglalink; GTH delists

11 Sep 2019

Amsterdam-based VEON has announced that its offer to acquire the multinational operating assets of its Egypt-based subsidiary Global Telecom Holding (GTH) has been approved at a GTH shareholder meeting, following which VEON has completed the intra-group ownership transfers of mobile operators Jazz (Pakistan) and Banglalink (Bangladesh), and submarine cable operator Med Cable. VEON’s announcement did not mention Algerian cellco Djezzy, which is also expected to be transferred from GTH to direct VEON ownership under the agreed offer.

NASDAQ and Euronext-listed VEON also confirmed that GTH’s shares have been delisted from the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), following a Delisting Decree published by the EGX. GTH also paid its final instalment of outstanding tax liabilities to the Egyptian Tax Authority.

VEON has set out a ‘future strategy and capital allocation framework’, including a commitment to boost long-term growth beyond traditional connectivity services as a ‘communications and digital services provider’. The strategy is based on three business pillars: mobile and fixed line Connectivity services; a portfolio of New Services built around digital technologies with the active involvement of big data and artificial intelligence; and Future Assets which seeks to identify, acquire and develop ‘know-how’ and technologies that open up adjacent growth opportunities. Alex Kazbegi, Group Chief Strategy Officer, said: ‘Over the next 18 months, there are opportunities that we believe will best serve investor interests over the medium-term. We are excited about the opportunity in our core Russian market, which we believe can be best accessed through a short-term increase in network CAPEX to allow us to drive medium-term service revenue growth. In Pakistan, there may be the opportunity to increase our stake in the business through the existing put option with Warid. We also believe stepping up our investment in Digital Financial Services in Pakistan is an exciting first step in Future Assets.’

Bangladesh, Pakistan, Banglalink, Global Telecom Holding (GTH, formerly OTH), Jazz, VEON