Vodafone says STC 'substantively' completed due diligence on Egypt unit stake sale

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask talks on his mobile and waits with others outside a branch of Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications Co, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Cairo suburb of Maadi, Egypt April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

(Reuters) - Vodafone Group VOD.L said on Monday due diligence regarding the $2.4 billion sale of its 55% stake in its Egyptian unit VODE.CA has been "substantively" completed by the potential buyer, Saudi Telecom Co (STC) 7010.SE.

The London-listed telecom firm said that despite the expiry of a memorandum of understanding, the company remains in talks with Saudi Arabia’s largest telecoms operator to finalise the deal in the near future.

“Vodafone now looks to STC and Telecom Egypt to find a suitable agreement to enable the transaction to close,” Vodafone Group said in a statement.

On Sunday, STC said no agreement had been reached to buy the stake in Vodafone Egpyt, and that the parties have agreed to keep dialogue open.

STC had in January signed a non-binding agreement, before citing coronavirus-driven logistical challenges to seek extension twice, first in April and then in July.

Originally expected to close in June, the deal would have been STC’s biggest in more than a decade.

With 44 million subscribers and a 40% market share, Vodafone Egypt is the country’s biggest mobile operator.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Devika Syamnath