France Telecom-Orange has announced plans to spend up to EUR1.5 billion (USD1.97 billion) to increase its stake in African mobile operator Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (ECMS), which trades as Mobinil, to 95%. The move, which forms part of the French giant’s bid to ramp up its presence in emerging markets, is the result of an agreement between the Paris-based group and its partner in the Egyptian venture, Orascom Telecom Holdings, over the Cairo-listed mobile network operator. FT-Orange has agreed terms to acquire all but 5% of Mobinil from Orascom at a price of EGP202.50 (USD33.64) per share. Orascom Telecom Holdings currently holds a 20% stake in Mobinil, as well as an indirect 28.75% stake, held through the joint venture with FT-Orange – which has a 51% majority stake. Upon completion of the initial transaction, the Paris-based firm will launch a tender offer for outstanding stock listed on the local bourse, though to be equivalent to about 29% of the operator; the tender offer will also be priced at EGP202.50 a share. If all shares are tendered, the deal will cost FT-Orange a total of EUR1.5 billion, giving it the full 95% holding in Mobinil and leave its joint venture partner with the remaining 5%, although Orascom will retain about 30% of voting rights.