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Mobinil deal ‘did not harm other owners’

Cairo, June 9, 2010

Egyptian mobile telecoms firm Mobinil's recent ownership accord had not hurt minority shareholder rights, members of the board told Egypt's regulator in a letter published by the bourse.

The deal struck in April between Orascom Telecom and France Telecom, who jointly run Mobinil, ended a long-running row over control of the firm.

But analysts had said some minority shareholders were frustrated by the deal, which seemed to rule out the possibility of France Telecom offering them a buyout price significantly higher than the market value of Mobinil shares.

Last month Egypt's financial regulator asked Mobinil, also known as the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (ECMS), to present the opinion of independent board members on the pact.

"The terms of our settlement are in the interest of ECMS and all its shareholders and do not have a negative effect on the rights of the minority shareholders of ECMS," members of Mobinil's board said in a letter dated May 11 but only published by the bourse on Tuesday.

Mobinil, Egypt's biggest cellphone service provider in terms of subscribers, said its board of directors was not party to the settlement agreement because it fell outside the board's jurisdiction.

Orascom and France Telecom share ownership of a holding company that has 51 per cent of Mobinil, while Orascom also has a 20 per cent direct stake. The rest of the stock is freely traded.

An Egyptian court in April upheld a block on France Telecom buying out ECMS shares at EGP245 ($44) each, an offer traders expected minorities would accept.

Analysts had said France Telecom might have needed to offer as much as EGP273 per ECMS share, the derived price for shares in the holding company based on an arbitration court's earlier ruling, if the settlement had not been reached.

Shares in Mobinil closed at about EGP177 per share on Tuesday. – Reuters




Tags: Orascom | Cairo | mobinil | France Telecom | ECMS |

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