France Telecom takes bigger stake in Mobinil Egypt
European carrier France Telecom said Sunday that it has secured commitments from minority shareholders to acquire yet more of leading Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil.
Mobinil is at the centre of an ongoing dispute between Egyptian carrier Orascom Telecom and France Telecom, that began in 2007, when Orascom initiated a lawsuit seeking to force the French carrier to transfer its Mobinil shares over to Orascom.
However, the court ruled in France Telecom’s favour and required Orascom to transfer some of its stake in Mobinil to France Telecom.
Mobinil is about 51 per cent owned by ECMS, a holding company that was jointly owned by Orascom and France Telecom, but under the latest ruling is now owned exclusively by France Telecom. Orascom also owns 20 per cent of Mobinil directly.
But since the court order, France Telecom has been trying to pitch an acceptable offer to buy minority shareholders, which hold the other 49 per cent out of ECMS. However, the French firm has seen its efforts rebuffed by the Egyptian Capital Market Authority (CMA) for being too low.
So on Sunday, France Telecom said that its mobile subsidiary, Orange, has received expressions of interest from a number of minority shareholders in ECMS, and has secured a commitment to buy shares in ECMS at a price of EGP230 (€29) per share.
Orange said it has secured commitments for more than 3 per cent of the issued share capital of ECMS, representing more than 6 per cent of the free float of ECMS.