Sonangol buys 25% of Unitel to Oi Brazilians for USD 1 billion

Sonangol buys 25% of Unitel to Oi Brazilians for USD 1 billion

The Brazilian operator Oi sold its 25% stake in Angolan Unitel for US$ 1 billion (900 million euros) to Angola's state oil company Sonangol.

According to O Globo, which mentions the sales contract, 750 million dollars (678 million euros) will be transferred on Friday to the Brazilian operator, being that the Sonangol will deposit the remaining amount within 90 days.

The deal caused Oi's shares to skyrocket, registering a 9.18% rise on the São Paulo Stock Exchange, with each company's security trading up to 1.07 reais (0.23 euros).

On January 9, Sonangol's director of communication and image, Dionísio Rocha, had already confirmed the willingness of the Angolan company to acquire the 25% stake of the Brazilian operator in the Angolan Unitel.

"We are considering the possibility of holding PT Ventures [a company controlled by Oi], but everything depends on the decision of the Paris court", said the communication director, indicating, at the time, that the estimated value of the acquisition should be "the market's".

The Paris Court of Commerce ordered Unitel's Angolan shareholders to pay Oi more than 600 million euros for violations of the shareholder agreement and proved that "transactions for their own benefit" were carried out.

When asked about how the acquisition would be financed, Dionísio Rocha said only that "Sonangol is financing itself in international banking," without giving further clarifications.

Oi has been in the process of judicial recuperation since 2016 to reduce liabilities, which are around R $ 65.4 billion (about 14 billion euros).

The Brazilian company faces losses and has even hired financial advisors to evaluate the operation of mobile phones in the country.

In a report released earlier this week, financial analysts outlined a more positive scenario for the company, with the expectation of fundraising that would total about 8 billion reais (1.7 billion euros).

According to the newspaper Valor Económico, this amount already included the perspective of the Angolan business, confirmed today.

Last December, the operator was the target, under the Lava Jato operation, of an investigation into alleged irregular payments to companies linked to one of the children of former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

According to a statement sent by the Federal Public Prosecution, the Oi group reportedly made suspicious payments of more than 132 million reais (about 28.6 million euros) to companies controlled by Fábio Luís Lula da Silva, between the years of 2004 and 2016.

Unitel, of which one of the shareholders is the subsidiary of Oi PT Ventures, was involved in a global scandal, known as 'Luanda Leaks', disclosed last Sunday by a consortium of investigative journalists.

The consortium disclosed more than 715 thousand files detailing financial schemes of the Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Sindika Dokolo, who will be the source of the family's fortune.

According to the investigation, Unitel was the focus of deviations and illegal transactions.

Unitel had four shareholders, each holding 25%, PT Ventures (owned by Brazilian Oi), Sonangol, Vidatel (controlled by Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos) and Geni (general Leopoldino Fragoso do Nasimento).

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