Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Court Blocks FT Share Offer For Mobinil

 The Egyptian Administrative Court has blocked a tender offer by France Telecom for shares in Egypt's Mobinil, citing principles of transparency and equal opportunity. At the heart of the matter is a long running dispute between France Telecom and Orascom Telecom Holding over control of the Egyptian mobile network operator.

Last March, ­the Arbitration Court of the International Chamber of Commerce ruled in favor of France Telecom, which has a 71.25% stake in a holding company, also called Mobinil, authorizing it to acquire the 28.75% interest in Mobinil held by Orascom Telecom.

Mobinil owns 51% of ECMS, Egypt's leading mobile operator, which markets its services under the Mobinil brand. This company is listed on the Cairo and Alexandria stock exchange. Orascom Telecom directly owns a 20% stake in ECMS.

Last December, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority approved a tender offer from France Telecom for ECMS outstanding shares at EGP245 each. Orascom has appealed the offer to the court, saying the price is lower than the EGP273 originally agreed to by the international arbitrator. However, the arbitrator had also said that a lower figure could be offered, if France Telecom is able to justify the difference.

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