Friday, April 10, 2009

Despite Ruling, France Telecom Dispute With Orascom Persists

The dispute over France Telecom's acquisition of 28.75 percent of Mobinil from Orascom Telecom for EUR 530 million persists. The French operator has requested Orascom to resolve difficulties with its creditors as quickly as possible and to provide a clear indication as to when Mobinil shares under pledge will become available. Orascom replied that it was prepared to transfer its stake in Mobinil to France Telecom, but that the procedure was being held up by the Egyptian financial markets authority.

At the end of the 30-day period fixed by the Arbitration Court, the Mobinil shares currently held by Orascom remain under pledge due to the fact that Orascom has not yet resolved the conditions for their release with its creditor banks. The Arbitration Court's decision provided for such a situation through the insertion of a penalty of USD 50,000 per day to be levied against Orascom from 10 April until the full execution of the award.

France Telecom said the necessary funds for the payment of this transaction are already available and that if the situation remains unchanged, it reserves the possibility to enter into direct relations with Orascom's creditors as permitted by the conditions governing such pledged shares. After this, France Telecom wishes to re-enter into discussions with the Egyptian market authorities in order to make an offer to minority and individual shareholders of 51 percent Mobinil subsidiary ECMS.

Orascom said that it had complied with the deadline to execute the transfer of Mobinil shares, but the Egyptian Exchange said it was unable to execute the transfer because France Telecom failed to submit the necessary documents. The exchange also acknowledged that it must comply with a ruling by the Egyptian Capital Market Authority requiring a mandatory tender offer for ECMS triggered by the Arbitration Court award

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