Morocco’s Finance Ministry has withdrawn its plans to sell a 7 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom on the Casablanca Bourse.

It is the second time that the government has stalled its plans to sell part of its 30 per cent stake in the operator.

The ministry had intended on selecting an investment bank by September to advise it on the best way to maximise the amount of the eventual sale and to protect the company’s stock market price after the operation.

In an emailed statement to shareholders, the Finance Ministry announced that it had cancelled the flotation without giving a reason.

“The political context was not right. We have a lot of Middle East investors in our stock and what happened in Tunisia and Egypt have affected our stock exchange so the investors prefer the delay because they are not willing to sell the shares at a discount price,” says a source at Maroc Telecom.

Rating agency Standard and Poor’s downgrade of the US credit rating on 6 August has also left the government wary of floating its shares at this time. The sale of the 7 per cent stake was intended to help the state meets its budgetary requirements in light of reforms in the country.

Maroc Telecom is one of the largest listed companies on the Casablanca Bourse. French media company Vivendi is the majority holder in the operator, with 53 per cent of the shares (MEED 27:7:11).