France Telecom is planning to consolidate its Moroccan, Tunisian and Iraqi mobile operations before 2015.
“The Middle East is very significant, but it is not a major part in our global operations because these companies are not yet consolidated in our group,” says Marc Rennard, executive vice-president of International at France Telecom.
“We have the minority stake in three major operators, Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, but before 2015 we will consolidate them. We will contribute our commitment to double our revenue from 2009 to 2015 to $10bn.”
France Telecom has a 40 per cent shareholding in Morocco’s Medi Telecom, 49 per cent in Orange Tunisia and 44 per cent in Iraq’s Korek Telecom. Rennard expects the highest growth to come from its Iraqi operations.
The operator is also in the process of increasing its stake in Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil.
On 16 February, it signed a non-binding agreement with Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Media Technology (OTMT) to increase its shareholding in Mobinil. France Telecom has offered $33.55 a share, valuing the deal at about $1.7bn.
The French operator is confident the takeover will be approved by OTMT shareholders ahead of the Egyptian firm’s annual general meeting on 1 March.
“I am confident [it will be approved]. We have agreed on everything and we want to continue to our partnership with Orascom,” says Rennard.
Under the terms of the agreement, OTMT will be left with a 5 per cent direct shareholding, but 30 per cent voting rights.
This agreement will be subject to the approval of the regulatory bodies.
Rennard plans to maintain Mobinil as a local company.
“It will be managed locally and we will maintain the same number of Egyptian board members,” he says.