MAROC TÉLÉCOM POSTS STRONG Q1 RESULTS ON THE BACK OF MOBILE GROWTH

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Maroc Télécom has posted revenues for the quarter ending 31 March 2005 of MAD4.71 billion (EUR423 million), a year-on-year rise of 15.8%.

The company attributed the good results mainly to sales at its mobile division, which grew by 26%; fixed line turnover increased 7.5%. It reported an estimated 6.7 million mobile subscribers and 1.3 million fixed line customers at the end of March.

Maroc Télécom (formerly Itissalat Al Maghrib) was a wholly state owned telco until December 2000, when a 35% stake was sold to the French conglomerate Vivendi Universal for MAD23 billion (EUR2.089 billion). The deal was, by a considerable margin, the highest value privatisation seen in Africa, and the process was trumpeted as a great success.

It wasn't until November 2004, however, that Vivendi agreed to take majority control of the company and up its stake to 51%, the EUR1.1 billion deal becoming effective in January 2005. The agreement was followed by the launch of an IPO in December 2004, when the government offloaded a 14.9% stake in Télécom.

The flotation on the Paris and Casablanca stock exchanges was reported to be as much as fifty times oversubscribed, with a high level of interest coming from the US, Europe and the Middle East.

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