12 Jan 2015
The government of Togo has summoned officials from Etisalat and Maroc Telecom to the capital Lome, to discuss how the latter’s recent acquisition of the Emirati group’s assets in Africa will affect local unit Moov Togo. In November 2013 French media group Vivendi signed a definitive agreement to sell its controlling 53% stake in Maroc Telecom to UAE-based Etisalat, going on to complete the deal in May 2014, at which point Etisalat agreed to sell its Atlantique Telecom subsidiaries (including Moov Togo) to Maroc Telecom as part of a wider operational overhaul.
The UAE group submitted a request to the government of Togo on 12 May 2014 to sell Moov Togo to Maroc, and whilst it says a deal is on, it is first seeking assurances from Etisalat concerning the issue of Moov Togo’s local ownership before rubber-stamping any deal. The Togolese operator is currently owned by Atlantique Telecom Togo (ATT), a subsidiary of UAE-based Etisalat, but the owner made assurances to the government in 2009 that it would ensure that 30% of Moov Togo would be sold to Togolese investors. Under local law, Etisalat is supposed to hold a maximum 70% in ATT, but it has controlled 95% of the unit since 2010. Industry regulator the ART&P fined Etisalat USD2.6 million in September 2014 for failing to comply with the terms of its licence award, and according to BizTech Africa, now both Etisalat and Maroc Telecom have been given five months to resolve Moov’s ownership issue if the deal is allowed to go through.