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Announcement:

Moody's places Orascom Telecom's B2 rating on review for possible upgrade

21 Mar 2011

Review changed from review with direction uncertain

London, 21 March 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has today placed Orascom Telecom's B2 corporate family rating (CFR) on review for possible upgrade. The rating was previously on review with direction uncertain.

This follows the announcement by VimpelCom Ltd ("VimpelCom") that (i) its shareholders had approved the acquisition of Wind Telecom S.p.A ("Wind Telecom", formerly "Weather Investments"), the majority owner of Orascom Telecom; together with the share issuance and capital increase needed to complete the acquisition; and (ii) all regulatory approvals had been received.

Moody's review for upgrade reflects (i) the benefits to Orascom Telecom of being part of a more diversified and financially sound telecoms group; and (ii) the rating agency's expectation that the majority of OTH's financial indebtedness will be refinanced, thereby implying a lower short-term probability of default than existed previously.

The review for upgrade also reflects the fact that, despite the recent significant challenges that the OTH group has faced -- including disputes over Algeria, the recent political developments in Egypt and recent uncertainty over the group's ownership of its Canadian asset -- there remained meaningful realisable value within its assets.

Moody's notes that, following completion of the acquisition, VimpelCom will be the 52% indirect owner of Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E. ("OTH"), the parent company for Orascom Telecom. Moody's understands from VimpelCom's filings that it intends to refinance OTH's USD2.5 billion syndicated bank facilities, its USD230 million equity-linked notes and potentially its USD750 million senior unsecured notes due in 2014 (issued by Orascom Telecom Finance S.C.A., rated Caa1) through inter company debt.

Moody's also notes that a number of conditions remain to be satisfied before finalisation of the transaction at the OTH level as currently contemplated. This principally includes the approval by at least 75% of OTH's shareholders for the spin-off of certain assets to its current owners. Spun-off assets include OTH's 35% stake in MobiNil (Egypt) and its 95% stake in Koryolink (North Korea).

As per VimpelCom's proxy statement, should OTH's shareholders approve the spin-off of OTH's selected assets, VimpelCom will redeem OTH's 2014 notes at the current call price of 104%. The rating agency further understands that, should OTH's shareholders reject the spin-off, this could trigger a change of control within the MobiNil shareholder agreement. Under such circumstances, France Telecom could exercise a call option over OTH's shares in MobiNil. Moody's assumes at this stage that the funds received would be retained within Orascom Telecom's restricted group.

In addition, the notes' indenture contains a change-of-control clause that would be triggered in the event of (i) a change-of-control at OTH; and (ii) a downgrade of OTH's rating by two rating agencies within 90 days of completion of a transaction.

Moody's will seek to conclude the review process upon gaining further clarity on: (i) the final corporate and capital structures of the newly combined VimpelCom group; (ii) the terms of any intercompany funding and other new debt provided to OTH; (iii) the conclusion of OTH shareholder approvals, the potential spin-off, and associated change-of-control issues; and (iv) the ring-fencing of Orascom Telecom from its new shareholders.

Moody's last rating action on Orascom Telecom was implemented on 5 October 2010, when the rating agency placed OTH's B2 CFR and Caa1 senior unsecured bond rating on review with direction uncertain.

The principal methodology used in rating Orascom Telecom was Moody's "Global Telecommunications Industry Rating Methodology", published in December 2007 and available on www.moodys.com.

Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E. is a holding company with controlling interests in leading GSM mobile telecoms operations in Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, North Korea, and Africa (i.e. Zimbabwe, Burundi, the Central African Republic and Namibia). In addition, Orascom Telecom indirectly owns equity in Globalive Wireless, a Canadian entity that launched operations in December 2009. In the first nine months of 2010, Orascom Telecom generated revenue of US$3.1 billion and EBITDA of US$1.3 billion (including Tunisia, which was disposed of in January 2011).

London
Alexis Foret
Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Chetan Modi
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's places Orascom Telecom's B2 rating on review for possible upgrade
No Related Data.
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