Egypt's Orascom Telecom has come out fighting against the regulators decision to clear France Telecom’s bid for the county’s biggest mobile carrier Mobinil.
"The company received this statement with a great deal of surprise and confusion because it contradicts the regulator's three previous refusals," Orascom said. The carrier has been in a tussle for control on Mobinil for some time but has yet to reveal what it plans to do to block the regulators decision.
The Egyptian regulator finally allowed France Telecom to move ahead with it plans to acquire Mobinil
on Thursday after being thwarted by shareholder objections.
Meanwhile Orascom announced that it is planning a rights issue to raise around US$800 million (€546m) from its shareholders. The proposed rights issue aims to ensure the carrier’s liquidity including financing needs for the Group. It is currently embroiled in a hefty tax dispute in Algeria.
Weather Investments, the carrier’s largest shareholder, which owns approximately 50.6% of the outstanding shares, has committed to subscribe for a minimum of its existing pro rata share in the rights issue.
Orascom executive chairman Naguib Sawiris said, “this transaction will enable the Company to strengthen its balance sheet to benefit fully as conditions improve across our core markets while we work towards the optimal resolution of the situation in Algeria.”
The Egyptian operator also received the green light to launch mobile services in Canada following a year of regulatory and legal roadblocks.
In a rare move the Canadian government overturned
a ruling by the country’s telecoms regulator that Orascom’s Canadian unit, Globalive Wireless Management failed to adhere to Canada’s foreign investment rules.
Canada’s three mobile operators BCE, Rogers Communication and Telus has rallied against the Canadian regulator’s initial approval of the union in September to deny Globalive and Orascom from launching a wireless service.
Orascom controls 65% of Globalive, forming a partnership with the Canadian company during Canada’s wireless spectrum auction last year. It provided the bulk of financing in addition to strategic backing for C$442m (€271m) worth of spectrum licences.
Analysts have estimated that Globalive could begin providing coverage to between 15 million to 18 million people in Canada from launch.