Egypt-based telecoms group Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT) has denied recent reports that it has halted investment in its 75%-owned North Korean subsidiary CHEO Technology (Koryolink). According to a company press release, ‘OTMT currently has no plans for new investments in North Korea’, although the company is ‘open for new opportunities in this market, in which it has been investing for six years’. Sources previously claimed that the company had halted its investment in North Korea after local authorities blocked remittance of the company’s profit to Egypt.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, CHEO Technology was established by Orascom Telecom Holding (now Global Telecom Holding) and state-owned Korea Post & Telecoms Corporation (KPTC, 25%), but as a result of the 2011 merger between Orascom and Russian-backed telecoms group Vimpelcom, certain assets were spun off into a new company, OTMT, including the majority stake in Koryolink. The North Korean cellco generated revenues of USD66.4 million in 2010, up 156% from the USD25.95 million posted in 2009, and in 9M11 (latest available figure) Koryolink claimed sales of USD102.7 million. OTMT reported net revenues of USD871 million for the twelve months ended 31 December 2012, but did not indicate how much of this figure was generated by Koryolink.