South Africa’s MTN Group has reached an agreement to increase its stake in its Cypriot mobile subsidiary from 50% to 100% for an undisclosed sum. MTN’s local shareholding partner Amaracos Holdings has agreed to sell its 50% stake in MTN Cyprus. MTN Group announced the deal as part of a strategy to consolidate its multinational investments. The acquisition, which is being carried out via MTN’s wholly owned subsidiary in Dubai, is subject to approval by Cyprus’ Commission for Protection of Competition.
MTN Cyprus (registered as Areeba Ltd) was taken over by MTN Group in May 2006 via its acquisition of Lebanese holding and management company Investcom. Local shareholding partner Amaracos Holdings is itself 51%-owned by Cyprus Trading Corporation (CTC, the largest import trading firm in Cyprus and wholly owned by N K Shacolas Group) and 49% by the Cypriot Panos Germanos group – belonging to Greek businessman Panos Germanos (separate from the Balkan Germanos retail group sold by Mr Germanos to Greek telco OTE’s mobile division Cosmote in 2006). A 49% stake in MTN Cyprus was transferred to Amaracos Holdings in October 2008 for USD32.2 million, whilst Amaracos was given a call option for a further 1% (which it later took up, giving each shareholder 50% of the Cypriot cellco’s capital), and in exchange MTN Cyprus was given 100% of telco OTEnet (Cyprus) – which OTE had sold to CTC in May that year – as well as Cypriot handset retailer Infonet (trading under the Germanos name).