France Telecom acquires 94% stake in Mobinil
France Telecom has acquired a 94% stake in Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil, in a deal confirmed by the Egyptian stock exchange yesterday.
The deal gives France Telecom a controlling stake in Mobinil after acquiring further shares in the company from Orascom Telecom Media and Technology for just under €2.5 billion. Orascom retained a 5% stake in the mobile operator.
Mobinil was founded by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, who has previously served as chief executive for Wind Telecom and Orascom but in recent years has sold most of his telecoms assets. Mobinil vies with Vodafone Egypt for dominance in the country’s lucrative mobile market.
Sawiris had previously agreed terms with France Telecom in February to sell a 100% in September 2012, in keeping with the French operator’s strategy to expand in Africa and the Middle East. This preliminary agreement has since been revised.
Following last year’s Egyptian uprising, mobile subscriptions in the country have grown by 25% to 91.1 million according to government figures. The sharp increase in penetration significantly defies the idea of an economic downturn following president Mubarak’s ousting from power in 2011.