ALGIERS, April 5 (Reuters) - Talks between Vimpelcom and Algeria over the future of the Djezzy mobile telecoms business have soured after Algeria fined Djezzy’s boss $1.25 billion, according to an Algerian official and a source close to the Russian company said.
The sources said Vimpelcom was now considering going to international arbitration to resolve the row over the fine.
The two sides were close to concluding a deal under which the Algerian state would have acquired from Vimpelcom a 51 percent stake in the Algeria-based Djezzy mobile phone business, ending a prolonged row over its future.
Following the announcement of the fine, “relations ... have deteriorated to the point that international arbitration is becoming a very likely option to find a solution to the fine issue,” the Algerian official, who is familiar with the discussions, told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
A source close to Vimpelcom confirmed to Reuters that Vimpelcom was considering international arbitration, among other options. Vimpelcom would not accept an Algerian proposal to deduct the fine from the deal price, the source said.
Vimpelcom was not immediately available for comment by phone and did not respond to an emailed request for comment. Algeria’s finance ministry, which is handling the negotiations, could not immediately be reached.