Ver Angola

Energy

Government says that increasing Sonangol's stake in Unitel aims at "improving" the company

The Secretary of State for Petroleum said that the acquisition of the participation of Brazilian Oi in Unitel by state oil company Sonangol aims to improve the company and generate capital gains in a future sale.

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"The acquisition of shares in Unitel was due to a concern that the company [Sonangol] has with the improvement of the company itself", said José Alexandre Barroso, stressing that the telecommunications operator, where Isabel dos Santos holds 25 percent, "it is very important for Angola”.

Sonangol, which already held a major stake in the operator (25 percent) announced on Friday that it now controls 50 percent of Unitel, through the acquisition of PT Ventures, a company hitherto indirectly owned by Brazilian Oi.

“With the acquisition of more shares, [Sonangol] will be able to influence the company's programs and management with the ultimate aim of improving its processes and results so that when the time comes to sell it, it will be done with added value”, said the government official, in a balance sheet about oil production in 2019.

Asked about the repercussions of Isabel dos Santos' financial schemes exposed through the investigation known as' Luanda Leaks' for the oil company, José Alexandre Barroso stated that Sonangol's activity “remains stable” and the company will be “focused on the programs it has outlined”.

The programs are linked to the restructuring and improvement of processes "to transform [Sonangol] into a company that is really geared towards the oil industry" and the sale of marginal assets to the company's activity.

"We are as far as possible trying to follow the program already approved", he stressed.

Regarding the results of oil production and commercialization in 2019, the Secretary of State considered that they were in line with the forecasts, noting that there are good prospects for this year.

“When we look at the conditions that caused crude prices to drop in international markets, we saw that there is some stability now at the beginning of the year. Trade negotiations between the USA and China seem to have resumed a good path and we believe that there will be stabilization”, he stressed.

In 2019, production was around 1.4 million barrels of oil per day. "We expected a little more for this year", but the "great challenge" is to establish programs and projects that allow "stabilizing production" and "being able to sell all the oil" that the country "has to sell", stressed José Alexandre Barroso.

Regarding the impact of the new coronavirus originating in China on the oil industry, the Secretary of State said that the outbreak affects "all life worldwide", so "all countries are taking the necessary precautions".

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