Central African Republic Says It Hasn't Been Approached by Orascom or MTN

The government of the Central African Republic has not been approached by Orascom Telecom Holding SAE or MTN Group Ltd. over the possible sale of Orascom’s Telecel unit in the country to MTN, the telecommunications minister said.

A transfer of ownership would necessitate the issuing of a new license, Thierry Maleyombo, the minister, said in an interview from the capital, Bangui, today.

“If there is a company that wants to take over Telecel and they become the major shareholder they would need to be given a new license and the minister has the right to refuse that,” he said.

As of December 2008 Telecel has 143,154 subscribers in the Central African Republic, according to Orascom’s website.

MTN said on April 28 that it is in talks to buy all or part of Orascom Telecom. The Egyptian company confirmed that negotiations are taking place.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Kavanagh in Kinshasa on mkavanagh9@bloomberg.net

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