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Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2006, 06:33 GMT 07:33 UK
Vodafone exits Belgium for 1.4bn
Man outside Vodafone store
Vodafone has been selling off non-core assets
Vodafone has sold its 25% stake in the Belgian mobile phone business Proximus to Belgacom for 2bn euros (1.4bn).

The deal is in line with Vodafone's strategy of pulling out of markets with limited long-term commercial benefit.

The firm sold its Japanese business last year for 8.9bn and has come under pressure to sell its holding in US business Verizon Wireless.

Vodafone said the sale would not affect its earnings this year and the proceeds would go towards reducing debt.

'Attractive price'

Belgacom, which already owned 75% of Proximus, will now take full control of the company, which is Belgium's leading mobile operator.

Launched in 1994, Proximus has more than four million customers and a market share of 48% in Belgium.

"We do not see ourselves as the most appropriate long-term holder of this minority stake," said Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin.

"In line with our strategy of actively managing our portfolio and maximising returns, we have achieved an attractive price with this sale."

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