Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT) is attempting to reinstate an initial public offer (IPO) for Tunisie Telecom (TT), of which it owns a 35% stake, after claiming that the planned share sale was cancelled without its approval. In October 2010 TT had planned a dual listing on the Paris and Tunis exchanges, with 10% being offered by EIT and 10% by the Tunisian government, which holds the other 65% of TT. In January this year the sale was put on hold until the country’s political situation had stabilised.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) objects to the IPO and is demanding that plans be abandoned permanently, fearing privatisation and lay-offs. According to local newspaper The National, a meeting in February between TT, the UGTT, and government officials decided to cancel the IPO. EIT was not invited to the meeting, and is now said to be challenging the legality of the decision. Deepak Padmanabhan, the chief executive of EIT, said that, ‘for such a resolution to be valid it would need to be approved by a qualified majority of the board of directors consisting of representatives from the state of Tunisia and EIT’. A leading member of the UGTT, Mohamed Mongi Ben M’Barek stated that the union considers TT a public company. ‘We don’t need to bring our demands to Tunisie Telecom’s strategic partner, we bring them to the Tunisian state,’ he added.