Saturday, December 19, 2009

Egypt - continuing dispute between Orascom and France Telecom over ownership of Mobinil

[business week] Egypt's Orascom Telecom said Wednesday it was appealing a regulator's ruling that could allow a France Telecom subsidiary to buy up the country's biggest mobile services provider.

The Egyptian Financial Services Authority said Saturday that it had approved an offer by Orange Participations to buy up OT's shares in the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services for 245 Egyptian pounds ($45.40) per share.

The approval paves the way for France Telecom to purchase Mobinil, which is operated by ECMS, and is Egypt's largest mobile phone company by subscribers.

"OTH has requested the annulment of the authority's decision because it is not made in accordance with the law and contradicts the principles of equality and equal opportunity between shareholders," the statement said, referring to Orascom Telecom Holding.

The dispute between Orascom and France Telecom stems from an arbitration court ruling in March in favor of the French company. The Paris-based company holds a 71.25 percent stake in Mobinil. The court authorized it to acquire Orascom's 28.75 percent stake in Mobinil.

Orascom had argued that the court's ruling for an obligatory purchase offer meant that France Telecom must pay all shareholders the same price, a stand Egyptian regulators had backed on several occasions by blocking the sale.

Orascom appealing France Telecom Mobinil buy plan

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