|Egypt limits F.Telecom Mobinil share buy|
|Tuesday, 02 June 2009|
Egyptian market regulator will not let France Telecom buy more than 2
percent of Mobinil shares listed on the open market without securing
approval from the Capital Market Authority, a newspaper reported on
The report followed the French firm's announcement it had secured commitments to buy an additional 3 percent of Mobinil , the latest twist in a row over ownership with Orascom Telecom , the other main Mobinil shareholder.
"The law does not allow France Telecom to buy more than 2 percent of the shares of ... Mobinil from the free market," the independent Al Masry Al Youm daily quoted a "prominent official" at the regulator as saying.
The source said the regulator, the Capital Market Authority (CMA), had received an official letter from France Telecom on Monday saying it had commitments from shareholders to let it buy the extra shares.
The Capital Market Authority could not be reached for comment. A Mobinil spokeswoman said the firm had no comment on issues relating to the regulatory authority.
He said it was up to the Capital Market Authority to decide, "either approving the deal or rejecting it, provided a rejection is motivated in the framework of Egyptian market regulations".
"We are waiting for a decision from the Capital Market Authority and hope it will come soon in the interest of the shareholders who have offered us their shares and (in the interest) of the good functioning of the markets."
Mobinil shares gained 0.23 percent to 217 pounds by 1020 GMT, and Orascom Telecom shares added 0.64 percent to 35.90 pounds. Paris-traded France Telecom shares trimmed 0.5 percent to 16.66 euros ($23.72).
"From a more fundamental point of view Mobinil is expensive at these prices, but it has been able to sustain momentum due to a lot of speculation about the deal over the past few weeks," said Delilah Heakal, telecom analyst at Cairo's Pharos Holding.
Orascom and France Telecom have been at loggerheads over the price the French firm should pay for the outstanding shares since an arbitration court ruled on April 5 that the French firm should buy Orascom's stake in the holding company at a price equivalent to 273.26 Egyptian pounds, $49 per share at the time.
Oracom and the Capital Market Authority both said this decision obliged France Telecom to offer for the entire company at an equivalent price, while France Telecom has said any offer would be voluntary.
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