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Dubai Holding could sell Tunisie stake within ‘months’

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Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT) has a 35% stake in the Tunisian telecoms firm.

The telecom unit of United Arab Emirates (UAE) state-owned global investment firm Dubai Holding could complete the sale of its stake in Tunisia’s Tunisie Telecom within months.

This is according to Deepak Padmanabhan, the chief executive of Dubai Holding’s Emirates International Telecommunications or EIT (which prominently has a stake in Dubai's du telecom operator).

EIT wants to sell its 35% stake in Tunisia's state-owned Tunisie Telecom and 26% stake in Dubai-based mobile phone retailer Axiom Telecom.

Reuters says Dubai Holding is among a group of state-linked companies trying to recover from a 2009 property crash.

J.P. Morgan Chase has estimated that the sales of the minority stakes could generate $1 billion in total, says Reuters.

In particular, EIT bought its stake in Tunisie Telecom for $2.25 billion in 2006. But J.P. Morgan valued Tunisie at $650 million in July.

"The process (Tunisian sale) is still going on. Given the current political climate it would be a few months ... The government has been so far supportive but it is the overall political climate that is the challenge," Padmanabhan told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi.

Asked about the knock EIT could take regarding Tunisie’s fall in value, Padmanabhan said: "The market will decide the stake and its value. We have to go to the board to make a decision."

He said no other sales were planned, adding that EIT's investments in Greece and Malta were doing well. "All our assets are performing well on a year-on-year basis," he said.

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