Reuters reports that the government of Morocco has returned to the previously shelved idea of selling part of its 30% stake in Maroc Telecom, to help fund a raft of public spending introduced to appease popular protests calling for reforms. An anonymous source revealed the development to the news agency, but did not elaborate on any other details. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the Kingdom of Morocco retains a 30% stake in Maroc Telecom, which is 53%-owned by France’s Vivendi Universal; 17% of the telco is publicly floated. In October 2010 the government reportedly scrapped plans to sell an 8% stake in Maroc Telecom this year, as it had opted for alternative methods to plug its budget deficit, including bond sales. An 8% slice of the incumbent PSTN operator, which is also the country’s largest mobile provider by subscribers, is worth MAD10.1 billion (USD1.3 billion), based on the closing stock price on Friday, according to Reuters. The government has proposed a multibillion-dollar package including raising public sector wages to appease protestors and avoid risking an escalation into revolt as seen in other Arab countries. It has already begun raising additional funds via selling off state assets in sectors including banking.
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