The Kingdom of Morocco and Vivendi Universal have agreed to the acquisition by Vivendi Universal of 16% of the capital of Maroc Telecom, Morocco's telecom operator.
The agreement allows Vivendi Universal, a strategic partner which has held operating control of Maroc Telecom since the beginning of 2001, to increase its stake from 35% to 51%, thereby perpetuating its control over the company. By virtue of the Maroc Telecom Shareholders' Agreement, and due to its current stake, Vivendi Universal holds 51% of voting rights in Maroc Telecom until September 1, 2005. By taking a majority stake in the capital, Vivendi Universal continues its controlling interest.
Between 2001 and 2003, Maroc Telecom's operating income nearly doubled, from 3.8 to 6.9 billion dirhams (1 euro = 11.1 MAD).
The deal amounts to 12.4 billion dirhams, or approximately €1.1 billion. This sum includes the value of the additional 16% stake in the capital and a premium for continuing control. For Vivendi Universal, it will be accretive to net income as of 2005.
Payment will be made in January 2005. Half of the amount will be financed by long-term debt raised in Morocco.
Maroc Telecom is due to be listed on the Casablanca and Paris stock exchanges in the very near future.
Jean-Rene Fourtou, Chairman and CEO of Vivendi Universal, welcomed this agreement which allows "a continuation of the already highly successful partnership between the Kingdom of Morocco and Vivendi Universal in Maroc Telecom and opens up new growth avenues for this company and its employees." (menareport.com)