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Lusa - Business News - Angola: Unitel denies existence of debt claimed by Isabel dos Santos

Luanda, July 31,2020 (Lusa)- The Angola mobile phone company, Unitel, has denied the existence of a supposed debt to Vidatel, owned by Isabel dos Santos, which accuses the telecommunications operator of not having returned a loan that it obtained from the company in 2016, but recognises it has unpaid dividends.

"Shareholder Vidatel has no loan agreement with Unitel," the telecommunications company said in a statement to Lusa, denying that Isabel dos Santos' company has guaranteed a loan to the company.

The document comes after, on Monday, the Angolan businesswoman guaranteed that Unitel SA has debts to Vidatel Ltd whose existence is due to reasons solely attributable to the telecommunications operator.

In question is the failure to repay, in 2016, the loan that Unitel obtained from Vidatel, a debt that is duly recorded in Unitel's audited accounts, certified by an external auditor, and recognised and approved by the shareholders' meeting for several years.

Vidatel added that it will, under the Law and the shareholders' agreement entered between the various shareholders of Unitel, make this clarification with the operator itself.

However, in Unitel's communiqué, the company rejects any shareholder loan agreement with Vidatel and points out that the management report and accounts for the 2019 financial year were audited and approved at the general meeting held on 27 July 2020.

Unitel acknowledged, however, that it has dividends to pay to shareholders, including Vidatel, but stated that the reasons for not transferring these amounts are foreign to it.

As duly recorded in the accounts approved this week, the company had, as of 31 December 2019, a balance of dividends and associated interest payable to shareholders totalling 622,908 million kwanzas (€952.3 million) at current exchange rate], of which 89,164,341,798 kwanzas (€136 million at current exchange rate) are payable to the shareholder Vidatel, said the Angolan company

The note stated that the reasons for the non-transfer of the aforementioned dividends and interest to Vidatel are foreign to Unitel, recalling also the restrictions arising from the attachment order present in a ruling issued by the Luanda Provincial Court in December 2019.

Unitel's board of directors, which took office in May 2019, said it has worked to ensure that shareholders are treated equally before the law and that it has provided all relevant information to its shareholders.

Unitel added that in the accounts approved on 27 July, it recorded that it has a receivable value equivalent to $405 million (€342 million) from Unitel International Holdings BV., a company without Unitel participation and owned by engineer Isabel dos Santos.

According to the company, this amount relates to loans granted by Unitel in the years 2012 and 2013.

Until January of this year, Unitel was controlled by four shareholders, each with 25%: PT Ventures (owned by the Brazilian company Oi), the state-owned oil company Sonangol, Vidatel (owned by Isabel dos Santos) and Geni (owned by General Leopoldino "Dino" Fragoso do Nascimento).

On 26 January, Sonangol purchased PT Ventures in full, for one billion dollars (€900 million), becoming the largest shareholder of the Angolan operator.

In December last year, Luanda court decreed the preventive seizure of accounts and shareholdings of Isabel dos Santos, her husband Sindika Dokolo and her manager Mário Filipe Moreira Leite da Silva, former chairman of the Board of Directors of Banco de Fomento de Angola (BFA).

Among the companies that were the target of the seizure of holdings is Unitel.



Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-08-01 09:53:00


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