x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Etisalat shareholders discuss bid for Maroc Telecom

Etisalat held an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday night at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi to discuss its bid for Vivendi's 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom.

Etisalat held an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Tuesday night at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi to discuss its bid for Vivendi's 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom.
Any decisions made by shareholders at the EGM are set to be revealed Wednesday morning in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), sources said.
Both Etisalat and Qatar's Ooredoo are in the running for the majority stake in Maroc Telecom, the country's largest telecoms operator. Etisalat is believed to have placed a higher bid according to Reuters which cited unnamed sources earlier this week while Ooredoo has outlined fewer legal conditions.
The stake is worth some US$6 billion at market price, but analysts believe both Etisalat and Ooredoo have placed a bid somewhere between the $4bn-5bn mark.
"Etisalat has put in the highest bid but it seems Ooredoo has met more of the conditions. It is hard to say which is likely to win because they are very similar in terms of background. Both have good access to finance with similar strategic rationale so it might come down to more behind the scenes negotiating," said Matthew Reed, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.
The Moroccan government, which owns a 30 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom will have final approval on the buyer.
"The Moroccan government may pick one of the parties that is going to bring more formal investment to Morocco," said Mr Reed.
The UAE has been ramping up its investment in the North African kingdom as of late. Last year Invest AD obtained a licence to set up in Casablanca Finance City. The Abu Dhabi Development Fund has a stake in five Moroccan companies including Societe Rebab which is listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) and Union Emirats Arabes Unis de Peche, an agricultural company.
The two operators are the only bidders for the Maroc stake after reports that STC, Vodafone and Korea Telecom had expressed an interest. Maroc Telecom, which is listed on the CSE has a market capitalisation of more than $11bn.
 
thamid@thenational.ae