The Algerian government has reportedly refused an offer by French telecoms giant Orange Group to acquire a stake in mobile operator Mobilis, which is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of state-backed telco Algerie Telecom (AT). According to domestic news source Algerie Focus, Mohamed Bait, secretary general of the Ministry of Post and Information Technology and Communication, said in a letter to the French group: ‘After consulting with [the country’s] leaders, it has been concluded that [the injection of] capital is inappropriate in the current circumstances.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in October 2013 local media reports suggested that the Conseil des participations de l’Etat (CPE), the agency in charge of managing the Algerian government’s stake in state-owned business entities, was planning to sell the shares of ten nationalised companies, including AT, to the public. Further, in April 2014 it was suggested that the government was planning to put 20% of Mobilis’ share capital up for sale on the country’s bourse.
Orange Group has long harboured ambitions to enter the Algerian market, with Elie Girard, the French group’s head of strategy and development, disclosing in January 2013 that Algeria – as a large, underdeveloped market – was strategically interesting, noting that any progress would be slow.