Orascom seeks exit from MobiNil, report says

4 Dec 2007

Orascom Telecom is looking to exit its MobiNil wireless joint venture with France Telecom (FT), writes French daily newspaper Les Echos without naming its source. Orascom confirmed yesterday at the presentation of its third quarter results that it has commenced proceedings against the French telco before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce concerning a dispute arising out of a shareholders’ agreement between the Egyptian group and FT dated 29 August 2001. Les Echos reported that Orascom chairman and chief executive Naguib Sawiris has tried in vain to buy out FT from the joint venture. The two companies control MobiNil through direct and indirect holdings, and must approve one another’s decisions. Each company has the option of buying out the other’s shares in the case of a ‘serious disagreement’. It is this clause that Orascom has decided to invoke, the paper said. FT is formally contesting the validity of the process, Les Echos said. The paper said the two companies have disagreed over strategic questions including the introduction of 3G services, and FT’s desire to bring MobiNil under its global Orange brand.