Egypt's Orascom Telecom appeals over Mobinil deal

Telecoms

Egypt's Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) has filed a legal claim against France Telecom (FT), claiming that the French company has not abided by the terms of a recent ruling to buy OTH's stake in MobiNil, and that the ruling should be dismissed.

The case, which has been filed before the Appeal Division of the Economical Court, North Cairo Circuit, is requesting, as its primary claim, a declaration that the share sale agreement arising out of the arbitration award issued on the March 10th, 2009 has been rescinded due to France Telecom's (and its subsidiaries') failure to pay the price of the shares by the time stipulated in the arbitration award, and related damages.

The move came a few hours after the local stock market posted a brief note that FT had tendered an offer to buy the entire holding in ECMS, the holding company which owns the mobile network operator.

The mobile phone network - which trades as MobiNil - is owned by a holding firm, ECMS - which is in turn owned by three parties, 20% directly by Orascom Telecom, 29% via the stock exchange and the remaining 51% is owned by a company, confusingly called MobiNil.

This holding company is in turn 71.25% owned by France Telecom and 28.75% owned by Orascom Telecom. The court ruling is disputed with OTH saying it applies to the whole company, while FT says that it only applies to Orascom Telecom's 28.75% in the holding company.

The company is the largest operator in the market, and according to figures from the Mobile World database, has a market share of around 48%.

Mobile World