18 January 2006

The Web
Business Today

Telecoms giant registers company in Malta

Malta may yet see the birth of a third mobile network player in the likes of Egyptian telecoms company Orascom, even if it is still unclear what the company’s intentions are after it registered a company in Malta on 30 December.
The Egyptian telecoms giant registered a company in Malta with an issued share capital of USD50,000 under the name of Orascom Telecom Iraq Corporation, which is Orascom’s operating company in Iraq.The shareholders are Orascom Iraq Holding and Orascom Telecom Eurasia with the group CEO Naguib Insi Naguib Sawiris as sole director.
Attempts to contact Orascom proved futile but industry observers told Business Today that the company may be interested in bidding for the third 3G licence which has not yet been awarded by the Malta Communications Authority.
“It is highly unlikely that a company with an issued share capital of USD50,000 is set up to act as a tax haven,” an observer told Business Today.
Orascom has over 30 million subscribers connected to its networks in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. The company’s declared philosophy is to adopt an aggressive strategy to capture the lion’s share of subscriber growth.
According to Orascom Chairman and CEO Naguib Sawiris, the company’s target is to reach 50 million subscribers by year end.
Orascom operates in Algeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and is traded on the Cairo and Alexandria stock exchange and the London stock exchange. The company intends taking on the title of being ‘the Vodafone of the Arab world’.
Questions sent to Orascom headquarters in Egypt last week remained unanswered by the time of going to print.

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Editor: Kurt Sansone
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