Etisalat resumes battle for Telecel

29 Apr 2013

According to a report by Agence Ecofin, United Arab Emirates-based telecoms company Etisalat has submitted a request to France’s Court of Cassation to review previous decisions related to Telecel, a mobile operator in Burkina Faso. Etisalat’s wholly owned subsidiary Atlantique Telecom (AT) lost control over Telecel Faso in late 2008, after a legal wrangle over its ownership was concluded in favour of minority shareholder Planor Afrique by a court in Ouagadougou, notes TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. However, in September 2010 a tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) based in Paris upheld Etisalat’s claims that a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed in September 2007 with Planor was valid, binding and enforceable, and had been breached. The MoA was signed to end all disputes between the parties and stipulated that AT would own a 68% stake in Telecel Faso and that Planor Afrique would hold the remaining 32%. The ICC tribunal ordered Planor to close the transaction within 60 days, and also awarded Etisalat monetary damages for the losses arising from breach of the MoA. Planor applied to have the award set aside, on the grounds that enforcement of the award in France would be contrary to international public policy, because it was inconsistent with the judgments rendered in Burkina Faso in 2008. In January 2012 the Paris Court of Appeal found that the Burkina Faso court decisions had full force and effect, and that in the absence of any allegations of fraud affecting the judgments of the Ouagadougou court, the arbitral award of September 2010 was irreconcilable with those judgments ordering AT to cede all of its shares to Planor. As such, the Court of Appeal ordered that the arbitral award be set aside.

Burkina Faso, Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), Telecel Faso,

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