France Telecom has become the majority shareholder in Egypt's largest mobile telephone company, MobiNil, after buying $252 million in shares from the US firm Motorola, the French firm said.
Following the transaction, France Telecom increased its stake in MobiNil, or the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services, from 46.1 percent to 71.25 percent, said a France Telecom statement obtained Monday from the Internet.
Cairo-based Orascom Telecom, which has bought mobile phone licenses in more than a dozen Arab and African countries, bought the remainder of Motorola's shares, increasing its stake in MobiNil from 18.6 percent to 28.75 percent.
France Telecom plans this year a stock listing of all its mobile operations under the name of New Orange after buying the British group Orange, and wants to be in a strong position in the mobile market before that happens, experts from the sector explained.
The company had net profits of 140.8 million Egyptian pounds ($438 million) in 1999. The company started operating in May 1998 and now has around one million subscribers, compared with around 700,000 for its only competitor, Click ¯ a consortium headed up by Vodafone and AirTouch Communications. — (AFP, Cairo)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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