Etisalat, LAP GreenN eye Tunisie Telecom stake

Libya's sovereign wealth fund LAP GreenN is in talks to buy the Dubai ruler's 35-per cent stake in Tunisia's state-owned Tunisie Telecom.

JP Morgan Chase valued it at $650 million in July 2013.                                                              

Thirteen other companies, including Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat and Turkey's Turkcell, have expressed interest in buying Dubai Holding's 35 per cent stake in Tunisie Telecom, a government official said on Wednesday.

LAP GreenN, a subsidiary of the Libyan Investment Authority's (LIA) is a Libyan government organisation established by the General People's Committee of Libya (GPCO) which was to manage the value of Libya's oil revenues and to diversify the dependence of national income.

Political and economic turmoil has hit Tunisie Telecom since the popular uprisings started in 2011 in the region.

Emirates International Telecommunications LLC (EIT), Dubai Holding, the firm owned by the ruler of Dubai, is among the group of companies badly hit by the financial crisis. It is trying to reduce the debt and is all set to make a high rate on the shares it bought for $2.25 billion in 2006.

EIT said in a statement that it "carries regular strategic options reviews which could materialise in a disposal including for its stakeholding in Tunisie Telecom".

LAP GreenN operates in Uganda, Ivory Coast, South Sudan and Sierra Leone.

Tunisia has a population of about 10.5 million and mobile penetration of 95 per cent. Tunisie Telecom has more than 4 million mobile subscribers and a million for fixed lines.

In February 2011, a month after tunisian President Ben Ali's ouster, Tunisie Telecom 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.