Etisalat wraps up purchase of €4bn Maroc Telecom stake
Etisalat beat Qatar’s Ooredoo for the French conglomerate’s 53 per cent shareholding last June after Ooredoo withdrew its bid because of the “lengthy” negotiations process. Saudi Telecom, Britain’s Vodafone and Korea’s KT Corp had all expressed an interest in the stake but did not submit bids for Morocco’s largest telecoms operator.
The deal was subject to approval from the Moroccan government, which has maintained its 30 per cent stake in the company. The remaining 17 per cent is publicly traded on the Casablanca Stock Exchange.
Etisalat signed a Dh15.99bn multi-currency loan to finance the acquisition with 17 international, regional and local banks.
“For Etisalat, taking control of Maroc Telecom brings both opportunities and challenges,” said Matthew Reed, the principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. “Maroc Telecom’s subsidiaries in West and Central Africa are growing strongly, and Maroc Telecom’s expertise in the region should be of benefit to Etisalat.”
Despite its strength in Africa, Maroc Telecom’s revenues in its home market have declined over the past year in the face of increasing competition in the mobile sector.
“Etisalat will be looking to turn that situation around. Etisalat also faces the logistical difficulties of managing an expanded and diverse portfolio of operations,” said Mr Reed.
This month, Etisalat sold its West African operations to Maroc Telecom for US$650 million, allowing it to transfer the management of its operations in Benin, Central African Republic, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Niger and Togo, to the Maghreb operator.
In a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Serkan Okandan, Etisalat’s chief financial officer, said the company intends to file an initial tender offer to acquire the remaining shares in Maroc Telecom as per stock market regulations in Morocco.
Follow us on Twitter @Ind_Insights
Published: May 14, 2014 04:00 AM