Saudi Telecom Company (stc) has paused talks with banks regarding a $2 billion financial package for the acquisition of Vodafone Group’s Egyptian business due to disruption caused by Covid-19.

Sources said that stc remains keen to acquire Vodafone Group’s 55 per cent stake in Vodafone Egypt, after the pair signed an MoU and agreed on a $2.4 billion deal in late January.

The recent downturn in global economies caused by the pandemic has seen stc put talks regarding a debt-based finance package on hold.

stc had been negotiating a $2 billion funding agreement with banks, which could recommence at a later date.

Vodafone Egypt is the country’s largest mobile operator with more than 40 million mobile connections at the end of 2019. While the companies aimed to close the deal by end-June, Telecom Egypt, which holds the remaining 45 per cent stake in Vodafone Egypt, revealed the nation’s Financial Regulatory Authority was not keen to approve any deal which did not see stc take a 100 per cent stake.

Telecom Egypt had stated it was in the process of appointing investment bank(s) to consider all of the possible investment options and opportunities to STC’s acquisition, given its rights that are stipulated in the shareholder agreement.