Morocco unaware of Vivendi sale of stake in Maroc Telecom

28 March 2003
Morocco said on 26 March that it had not been informed of France's Vivendi Universal's intention to sell its stake in Maroc Telecom. London's Financial Times reported that the French firm was planning to sell the 35 per cent stake, acquired for $2,200 million in December 2000 (MEED 9:2:01). Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Telecommunications & Trade Minister Rachid Talbi Alami said: 'We got no official statement from Vivendi as to its intention to sell its stake.' He also said that Vivendi holds the pre-emptive right to buy the further 16 per cent of Maroc Telecombeing sold off during 2003. 'If Vivendi steps down, we'll seek another buyer,' said Alami. Reports in the local press have claimed that the government is seeking Arab investors to form a consortium with leading local private conglomerate ONAto replace Vivendi.

Alami also said that the government was reconsidering its plan to auction a second fixed-line telecoms licence, following the failure to find any bidders by the November 2001 deadline. 'We have one fixed phone operator, around 1.1 million subscribers and the volume of communication is limited,' he said. 'So the question is, do we really need a second fixed phone operator?' Fixed lines have been falling as increasing numbers turn to mobile phones. The tender would be re-launched in 2003 if conditions in the world telecoms market improve, Alami said.

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