Morocco’s Maroc Telecom, controlled by French group Vivendi, is thought to be in a good position to bid for state-owned Benin Telecoms, according to African-bulletin.com, quoting French newspaper La Lettre Mediterrannee, following previous reports that France Telecom (FT) was in pole position for the privatisation of Benin’s incumbent telco.
The schedule for privatising the PSTN and broadband operator is unclear however, with observers saying that the issue could be clouded by upcoming presidential elections next spring, whilst Benin Telecoms’ workers’ union has warned that it will ‘react strongly’ to inevitable staff restructuring (‘downsizing’) plans resulting from a sale to the private sector.
Maroc Telecom has expanded across several African nations. In neighbouring Mauritania, it acquired 51% of Mauritel in 2001, and it acquired majority control of Burkina Faso’s Onatel in 2006 and Gabon Telecom the following year.
In 2009, Maroc Telecom signed an agreement with the Malian government to become the major stakeholder of Sotelma. The group is also eyeing other markets outside the traditional French speaking African countries which have strong political ties with Morocco.