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Algeria, Vimpelcom Form Company to Operate Orascom Telecom Unit

The Algerian government and Russia’s VimpelCom Ltd. have formed a new company to operate Orascom Telecom Holding SAE’s local unit, its chairman said today.

The new company, Optimum Telecom Algerie, was formed on Dec. 2 and is 51 percent owned by Algeria with the remaining portion held by VimpelCom, Vincenzo Nesci, chairman of Orascom-Telecom Algerie, also known as Djezzy, told reporters today in Algiers.

The North African country’s government has been in discussions for more than two years to purchase a 51 percent stake in Djezzy held by Cairo-based Orascom Telecom Holding. This would give Algeria full ownership of Djezzy. VimpelCom and Orascom Telecom Holding merged last year.

Shares of Orascom Telecom Holding rose as much as 5.92 percent to 3.76 pounds in Cairo today, beating the EGX30 Benchmark Index’s highest gain of 2.8 percent to 5,158.4 pounds.

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