Zain not concerned by Econet lawsuit

12 Oct 2009

Kuwait’s Zain Group is not concerned that a lawsuit filed by South Africa’s Econet Wireless pertaining to the company’s 2006 purchase of Nigerian operator Vee Networks (now Zain Nigeria) will derail plans to sell a 46% stake in the group to Indian investors, Bloomberg reports, citing Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai. ‘The lawsuit is old and dates back to before 2006,’ Zain CEO Saad al- Barrak told the newspaper, before adding that Econet had lost similar lawsuits filed against Zain in British courts over the last four years. As reported by CommsUpdate on 8 October, Econet claims that its right of first refusal over the stake was breached when Zain bought out the Nigerian cellco in May 2006, and has said it will continue to pursue arbitration proceedings. Econet has also applied for interim measures to prevent Zain from selling, transferring, disposing of, dealing with or otherwise encumbering the disputed stake until the matter is resolved. The blocking could disrupt plans by the Al-Kharafi group, which holds an indirect 10.8% stake in Zain, and its National Investments Company to sell a total 46% stake in Zain Group valued at USD13.7 billion to a consortium of Indian and Malaysian investors, including BSNL, MTNL and Vavasi Telegence.

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