Durban - Tiscali International had sold its South African operation to M-Web for R320 million, Tiscali said at the weekend.

The chief executive of Tiscali South Africa, Diego Massidda, said the company believed the sale would not be to the detriment of Tiscali's South African customers, as M-Web was an established internet service provider in the country.

The sale does not include the group's cellular business, worth over e5 million (R40 million), which will be sold separately before the year-end.

The deal is subject to approval by the competition commission.

It will be paid for in cash by M-Web on conclusion.

Massidda said the conclusion of the deal would take a minimum of six months.

Tiscali International announced its intention to sell operations in South Africa, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland earlier this year.

A press release at the beginning of the year, said the reason for selling these operations was "a highly regulated environment or a monopoly of telecommunications".

Tiscali, which is listed on the Paris and Milan stock exchanges, intends to concentrate on its operations in Europe, where it is the second-largest internet service provider.

The local operation has 250 employees and the firm did not indicate whether job losses were likely.