Thursday, February 3, 2011

Orascom Comments on Investment in North Korea's Mobile Network

I commented late last month on the meeting that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had with Naguib Sawiris, Chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom.  Today an interesting article in The Sydney Morning Herald by Eric Ellis, gives some insight into how Sawiris views his company's investment in North Korea.  Ellis interviewed Sawiris in Egypt in early January.
Orascom, the article noted, is a classic example of a company where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Like North Korea, where the value of the Koryolink JV "is either zero, or $5 billion. If there is reunification, then I will be the incumbent of North Korea, and my value will be something like [South Korean carriers] SK Telecom or Korea Telecom," Sawiris said. "If there is a war and they unify after the war, it is still the same, depending on who wins, of course. And if they take the asset, then it is worth zero. There is no between value [in North Korea] because who will buy? No one else has the relationship that we are building there."

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