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TECOM-DIG Consortium announces 35% stake in Tunisie Telecom

TECOM Investments and Dubai Investment Group (DIG), both members of Dubai Holding, last week announced the acquisition of a 35 per cent stake in Tunisie Telecom, Tunisia's state telecom carrier. The final purchase price was quoted at US $2.25 billion.

A signing ceremony held last week to finalise the acquisition was attended by Montassar Ouaïli, Tunisia's Minister of Communications Technologies, Ahmad Bin Byat, executive chairman of TECOM Investments, and Soud Ba'alawy, CEO of DIG.

Bin Byat stated: "TECOM-DIG's stake in Tunisie Telecom represents our largest investment to date in the sector. The growth potential of this market offers us exciting possibilities to develop new value for Tunisie Telecom's customers.

"Combining our strengths, we are looking to transform the company into the most customer-focused and technologically advanced operator in the region."

Soud Ba'alawy added: "Through this partnership, DIG and TECOM look forward to further strategic opportunities to grow the company. We have the right combination of people and expertise that will allow us to explore and evaluate other opportunities in the region."

Meanwhile, the $2.25 billion syndicated loan issued for Dubai Holding for the purchase of 35 per cent of Tunisie Telecom closed more than 100 per cent oversubscribed. Over 40 banks are in the syndicate, with around 50 per cent of lenders coming from the Middle East and the remainder from Asia and Europe.

Emirates Bank and Standard Chartered Bank are the mandated lead arrangers.

In March this year, the TECOM-DIG consortium was named the highest bidder for the Tunisie Telecom stake in a bidding process involving 12 other leaders in the telecom industry. A binding Share Purchase Agreement was signed between the parties on April 27. The closing of the transaction occurred on Monday.

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