Private equity firm Abraaj Group has bought from Dubai Holdings’ telecoms arm its 35 percent stake in state-controlled Tunisie Telecom, a Tunisian minister said on Monday.
In 2006 Dubai Holding’s Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT) bought the stake for $2.25 billion, according to its website. “The UAE’s Abraaj became a new partner in Tunisie Telecom to succeed Dubai Holding which sold its 35 per cent stake,” the Tunisian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Anwar Maarouf, told parliament.
“The entry of the new partner contributes to the development of the company’s activity,” he said without disclosing the financial details of the deal.
Abraaj and EIT were not immediately available for comment.
Dubai Holding, owned by the ruler of the emirate, is among a group of state-linked companies trying to recover from a 2009 property crash. It had announced its intention to sell the stake.
EIT had complained to the Tunisian government since the uprising that toppled former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 about strike action and workers’ demands for higher pay.
In February 2011, a month after Ben Ali’s ousting, Tunisie Telecom said it had cancelled plans to list on the Tunis and Paris stock exchanges after consultations with trade unions. Workers had threatened industrial action if there were job losses.