Morocco to sell 8% stake in Maroc Telecom

10 June 2019 | Natalie Bannerman

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Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s biggest telecoms operator, has confirmed that the government would sell up to 8% of its stake in the company.

The operator is 53% owned by UAE company Etisalat while the Moroccan government owns 30. Listed on the Casablanca stock exchange, a public offering will announced over the next few weeks, the company confirmed in a statement.

The deal is said to be the first step in a government privatisation plan to inject between 5-6 dirhams ($527 million-$633 million) into the state budget through the sale of state assets. The move will also cut the 2019 budget deficit to 3.3% of the gross domestic product. In 2018 the deficit reached 3.8% and without privatisation, the deficit is likely to hit 3.7% during 2019, according to government officials.

In addition, the government also plans to sell the five-star La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech and the Tahaddart power plant in the north of the country.

Last year, Etisalat and Zain where in the midst of a regulatory battle in Morocco over wholesale access to infrastructure.

Fixed and mobile operator Inwi, in which Zain has a 15.5% stake, has complained to the Moroccan regulator l’Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications (ANRT) that rival operator Maroc Telecom is refusing to give access to its infrastructure. Maroc Telecom is controlled by Etisalat.