VIVENDI RE-AFFIRMS ITS COMMITMENT TO HANG ON TO MAROC TELECOM STAKE

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

French group Vivendi Universal is to sell its 55% in Monaco Telecom as it has sold its 60% in Kencell but will hold on to its stake in Maroc Telecom, where it would like to become a majority.

Vivendi is in the process of getting rid of its "non-strategic" telecoms holdings as part of concentrating on what it sees as its core holdings in France: SFR/Cegetel and overseas in Morocco. This was completed with the sale for e169,000 on 25 May of Monaco Telecom to Cable and Wireless. The sale of Kencell to investment group Sameer realised another USD250 million.

This leaves it with a 35% stake in Maroc Telecom which it says it will be hanging on to. Last year Vivendi’s Board agreed "in principle" that it would seek to become a 51% shareholder in the company. The Moroccan government has agreed but that does not necessarily mean it will happen.

The Moroccan Government for its part has announced the engagement of a consortium of bankers including Merrill Lynch, BNP-Paribas and BCM to take part of MT’s capital to market. This consortium is working with another consortium headed by Morgan Stanley and six other groups, including local bankers. The Government hopes that these external advisers will help it realise a sale income 12.3 billion dirhams this year from the 16% that Vivendi wants to acquire in the second semester of this year.

The Government wants to sell 5% of the capital on the Casablanca bourse and 10% in overseas exchanges including London, New York and Paris. Maroc Telecom achieved a turnover of e376 million in the first semester of 2004.

Le Matin