Isabel dos Santos justifies the lack of Unitel dividends with the currency crisis in Angola

  • ECO News
  • 13 December 2017

The Angolan operator Unitel says dividends owed to PT Ventures are already available and the only reason they haven't yet been payed is because of no monetary availability in the currency market.

Unitel says the dividends owed to PT Ventures (currently held by the Brazilian Oi) are already available and that the only reason for them not to have been payed yet was because the Angolan currency crisis has hindered the exchange of kwanzas for dollars or euros, blocking the payment of dividends to other countries. Unitel also takes the blame away from Angolan shareholders.

The Angolan phone operator was reacting to the news from the Portuguese newspaper Público about Isabel dos Santos’ withdrawal of 238 million euros from an account for personal purposes in BPI, few hours before a Court ruled the freezing of all assets from Vidatel (a shareholder for Unitel, which is owned by Isabel dos Santos).

The justification for this freezing of assets is a lawsuit from PT Ventures against Vidatel in a Court on the British Islands, in which PT Ventures claims an indemnity of around 2,800 million euros, concerning unpaid dividends since 2011 and the amount of its financial position in the company, Público discloses.

Yet, Unitel says they had nothing to do with that problem, blames the Angolan crisis and highlights that Angolan shareholders cannot be held accountable for that fact.

“Due to macroeconomic issues in Angola — namely the lack of currencies –, it has not yet been possible to pay dividends to foreigners, since they must be exchanged into dollars or euros, in order to be properly exported”, the Angolan operator argues. “Dividends from PT Ventures have been licensed by BNA, but there are no currencies available in the exchange market“.

"Due to macroeconomic issues in Angola — namely the lack of currencies –, it has not yet been possible to pay dividends to foreigners, since they must be exchanged into dollars or euros, in order to be properly exported. ”

Unitel

Unitel further states that the amount of dividends from PT Ventures corresponds to over 600 million dollars, “an amount that is understandably non sustainable for the Angolan banking system in the current exchange situation its economy is going through”.

It is based on this difficult economic context that “the Angolan shareholders of Unitel understand that they cannot be held accountable for the expatriation of dividends of a foreign shareholder“, the Angolan operator further discloses.

About the withdrawal of 238 million euros by Isabel dos Santos from a Vidatel account in BPI to a personal account, Unitel underlines that “no illegitimate or illegal financial transaction has been performed”.

PUB