CAIRO Aug 7 Egypt's Orascom Telecom
said on Wednesday its majority-owned Zimbabwe subsidiary had
renewed its mobile operating licence for 20 years, but did not
say whether it had agreed to a demand by the Zimbabwe government
that it cut its stake in the business to 40 percent.
Telecel Zimbabwe paid $137.5 million for the licence,
Orascom said, the same amount the country's other two mobile
companies had been asked to pay.
In May Zimbabwe had threatened not to renew the licence
until Orascom lowered its 60 percent stake by turning over a
majority of its Telecel shares to local shareholders, Zimbabwe
state media said at the time.
The government was demanding that a majority of the company,
Zimbabwe's second-largest mobile operator, be owned by black
Zimbabweans, the state-owned Herald had reported.
The earlier 15-year licence issued to Telecel, which has 2.6
million subscribers, expired in June.
Orascom Telecom itself is controlled by Russian
international telecoms group Vimpelcom, which currently
owns 51.9 percent of the company. Orascom's shares were trading
1 percent lower in Cairo at 4.59 Egyptian pounds at 1021 GMT.