FT faces battle for control of Mobinil

A bid by France Telecom to take over Mobinil, Egypt’s largest mobile operator, could be blocked by its own joint venture partner.
Orascom Telecom Holding is fighting to stop the French incumbent buying its 28.75% stake in Mobinil, and will also challenge for control of Egyptian Company for Mobile Services, in which Mobinil holds a controlling stake, according to Wireless Federation.com
An Egyptian court is due to decide tomorrow (Saturday) if France Telecom can continue with a tender offer for outstanding ECMS shares. The firm currently owns 71.25% of Mobinil through its Orange brand, however Orascom’s CEO Khaled Birchara says the firm would fight any decision that allowed Orange to increase its stake.
Despite his combative talk, Birchara would prefer to negotiate a settlement with FT, the news site states.
France Telecom’s new CEO Stephane Richard hopes to double revenues from emerging markets in the next five years, by investing up to €7 billion in the Africa and Middle East region, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Gaining control of Egypt’s largest mobile carrier would be a useful step to achieving that goal.
The carrier had 25.34 million subscribers at end 2009 and generated net income of EGP2 billion (€270 million) during the year.