With Canada having rolled out new foreign ownership rules for the telecom sector, Egypt-based Orascom is moving forward with a plan to assume voting control of WIND Mobile which now has over 500,000 subscribers. The company will exercise an option to convert a 65% non-voting stake into voting shares. The move would see control shift away from Globalive Communications but it is expected to retain a minority stake.
“Orascom exercised a right they have always had to increase their voting shares,” said Wind CEO Anthony Lacavera. “I see this as a big positive for Wind in that this will give them the confidence to continue investing in Canada and it positions us to lead the necessary new entrant consolidation.”
The move would make WIND Mobile Canada’s first fully foreign-owned carrier.
Orascom, itself owned by VimpelCom after being acquired last year, will need approval from Canadian investment authorities, something it expects to happen by the end of the year or early 2013. Shareholders will also vote on the proposal in November.
As for WIND Mobile’s operations, Lacavera expects that there will be no changes to the business plan or to the company’s management.