On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- France Telecom has ruled out making an increased offer to buy out minority shareholders at ECMS, Egypt's largest mobile phone operator. The stance of France's leading telecoms company means a bitter dispute between it and Orascom Telecom, the Cairo-based mobile operator, is unlikely to be solved quickly. France Telecom and Orascom are at loggerheads over the French company's attempt to secure full ownership of ECMS, which has 21m customers. The two companies jointly control ECMS via Mobinil a company that owns 51 per cent of the Egyptian mobile operator.

- Zimbabwe Cabinet has approved the privatisation of state assets. This will include the national telecommunication incumbent TelOne among other public held companies. Minister of Finance Tendai Biti said that government would assess different state assets and decide on the model which they will use either to commercialise or privatise them.

- In Ghana, Vodafone says the long period it takes to clear goods at the entry ports is affecting its projected roll out of key installations to enhance quality service delivery. Briefing the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications on a visit to the compan, David T. Venn, Chief Executive, said "We have a lot of catching up to do. We cannot catch up if we have to wait three to four months to clear goods at the port in addition to the numerous hurdles associated with it".