Vodafone Group has agreed to sell a 55% stake in its Egyptian subsidiary to Saudi Telecom Company for $2.39bn in cash. Chief executive Nick Read says the disposal is in line with efforts to simplify the group into the two regions of Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. He says it will reduce net debt and “unlock value” for shareholders.
The deal gives Vodafone Egypt an enterprise value of $4.35bn – seven times its adjusted earnings. The companies have agreed the basis for a long-term partner market agreement, including use of the Vodafone brand, preferential roaming arrangements and access to Vodafone’s central procurement function.
Vodafone will continue to have a presence in Egypt through its shared services operations, which employ about 7,800 people in Cairo, Giza and Alexandria. Vodafone plans to recruit at least 1,000 more staff there over the next 12-18 months.
Low-cost airline Wizz Air Holdings came back into the black in the third quarter of its financial year with record net profits of €21.4m, following a €21m net loss in the same period of the previous year. Revenues increased by 24.6% to €637m and the company has raised its guidance range for full-year net profits to between €350m-€355m.
Builders merchant Travis Perkins says in a trading update that its Wickes DIY stores chain achieved like-for-like sales growth of 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2019. Over the full year, Wickes like-for-like sales were 8.7% higher than the previous 12 months. Travis Perkins intends to demerge Wickes in the second quarter of this year.
Finally, wealth management group Brewin Dolphin Holdings has announced the retirement of chief executive David Nicol after seven years in the position. He will step down in June and will be succeeded by Robin Beer, who is currently responsible for Brewin Dolphin’s intermediaries, charity, professional services and digital businesses. Separately, the group has issued a trading update showing that total funds rose by 7.8% from £45bn to £48.5bn in the first quarter of its current financial year. The increase includes £2.7bn of acquired funds from Investec and organic growth of 1.8%.
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