Orascom Telecom Holding Loss Widens on Globalive Impairment

Orascom Telecom Holding SAE said its fourth-quarter loss widened after the Cairo-based mobile phone company recorded an impairment charge against a loan to its Canadian unit.

Orascom Telecom’s net loss attributable to equity holders widened to $474 million from $125 million in the year-earlier period, according to a statement on its website. Shareholders of the company agreed in November to forgive outstanding interest on a loan to Globalive Investment Holding Corp. The quarterly results included a $339 million impairment related to that debt.

The operator, which merged with Russia’s VimpelCom Ltd. in 2011, posted a 1.4 percent advance in fourth-quarter revenue to $908 million, including $466 million from Algerian unit Djezzy, according to the statement. Djezzy, the subject of an ownership dispute between the company and Algeria’s government for almost three years, “continued to face various challenges due to actions from a number of government authorities,” Orascom said.

Local Algerian lenders were asked “not to process any overseas foreign currency transfers” for Djezzy, according to Orascom Telecom.

Shares of the phone company fell 1 percent to 4.09 Egyptian pounds at the close in Cairo today, trimming this year’s gain to 3 percent. That compares with a 3.7 percent decline for the benchmark EGX 30 Index so far in 2013.