In the latest twist in the long-running saga over the ownership of Egyptian mobile network operator MobiNil, a court in Cairo has overturned a ruling by the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) that had approved an offer from France Telecom (FT) of EGP245 (USD44.63) per share for all outstanding shares it does not hold. According to Reuters the court’s decision was greeted by cheers and applause. FT’s offer was accepted by the financial regulator in December 2009, but the French company’s partner in the cellco, Orascom Telecom, swiftly appealed the decision, and after the initial appeal was rejected Orascom said it would take the matter to the courts.
Commenting on this latest development Orascom’s chairman Naguib Sawiris said: ‘We are in our country, staying in it. We are not leaving… The ruling proves that the decision of the (regulatory) authority was incorrect. Our position is correct. The next step is from the regulator, not from us. We had no desire to sell in the first place.’ FT meanwhile issued a statement noting that it regretted the decision, while also saying that it would seek to have its most recent tender offer reinstated.