France Telecom aims to strengthen position in Egyptian market

France Telecom is said to be reaching a preliminary agreement with Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris for his share in Egyptian mobile operator, Mobinil.

According to Reuters, France Telecom already owns 71.25% of Mobinil but it is hoping to buy most of Sawiris’s stake in the company.

Sawiris, who has previously served as chief executive for both Wind Telecom and Orascom, has in recent years sold most of his telecoms assets, appearing to instead focus on his political career following the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Last April, Sawiris completed a $6.6 billion deal with Vimpelcom which saw the Russian operator take a 57.1% share in Orascom Telecom and finalise a 100% takeover of Wind Italy.

For France Telecom, the potential move appears in line with its group-wide five-year action plan, Conquests 2015, part of which aims to expand its footprint in emerging markets.

Shares in both Orascom and Mobinil have been suspended, and a decision is expected to be made following a meeting between the two companies today.

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