Othman Benjelloun, the owner of Moroccan investment fund FinanceCom, is reportedly mulling the divestment of his 30% stake in domestic cellco Medi Telecom (Meditel), Maghreb Intelligence reports. The executive has disclosed that following the replacement of his representative Mohamed El Manjra as Meditel’s CEO by Michel Paulin in March 2013, all strategic decisions have reportedly been taken by the company’s French management team without his consultation. As such, FinanceCom has informed the company’s majority shareholders – state-controlled financial institution Caisse de Depots et de Gestion (CDG) and Orange Group – that it is looking for a buyer.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Meditel is 40%-owned by Orange Group of France, while CDG and FinanceCom both hold 30% stakes. Orange agreed to purchase its 40% share in September 2010 for EUR640 million (USD837 million) from Fipar-Holding (part of the CDG group) and Medium Finance (a FinanceCom group unit), and the transaction was completed three months later, following approval from the regulator, the Agence Nationale de Reglementation de Telecom (ANRT). Previously, CDG and FinanceCom had held equal 50% stakes. Portugal Telecom (PT) and Spain’s Telefonica were long-term investors in Meditel, each holding 32.18% stakes, but they sold their interests in September 2009 for a combined total of EUR800 million.
CDG, FinanceCom and Orange have agreed to float Meditel on the Casablanca stock exchange ‘in the short to medium term’, and the French group has also agreed to increase its share in the company to 49% from 1 January 2015.