Stephane Richard, CEO of French telecoms giant Orange Group, has revealed that Moroccan cellco Medi Telecom (Meditel) will be rebranded to Orange in 2015, once the group acquires the controlling stake in the operator, L’Usine Digitale reports. TeleGeography notes that Meditel is 40%-owned by Orange, while state-controlled financial institution Caisse de Depots et de Gestion (CDG) and Moroccan investment firm FinanceCom both have 30% stakes. However, according to a shareholder’s agreement signed in 2012, both CDG and FinanceCom must transfer a 4.5% stake each to Orange, thus bringing the French telco’s holding in the Moroccan network provider to 49%. Stephane Richard reportedly said that the procedure is still ongoing due to, among other things, the strained diplomatic relations between France and Morocco.
Further, the CEO disclosed that the ‘situation [in Tunisia] is not about to be settled’, although he highlighted that the group would like to continue operating in the country and eventually take control of Orange Tunisia. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Orange Tunisia is currently owned by the Tunisian state (51%) and Orange Group (49%), after the interim government of Tunisia confiscated the 51% stake in the operator held by members of overthrown president Ben Ali’s family via the Investec Group in March 2011. A sale of the stake to Orange Group was blocked by the terms of Orange Tunisia’s licence, which prevented the French parent from taking full control of the company.
In addition, Stephane Richard said that Iraqi unit Korek Telecom is performing well although ‘it is very unlikely that the group [will] increase its involvement and exposure in Iraq’. TeleGeography notes that Orange Group holds an indirect 20.2% in the Iraqi cellco via a joint venture with logistics company Agility; Orange has the opportunity to exercise an option to increase its indirect stake in Korek to 27% in order to gain indirect control of the company.
Meanwhile, the group’s five-year business plan, which will replace ‘Conquests 2015’, will be presented to the public on 17 March 2015, La Tribune reports. The executive disclosed that the company fell short of achieving the ‘Conquests 2015’ objective of signing up 300 million subscribers (the group had 240 million users on its books at end-September 2014) by stating: ‘we set the bar too high, the goal was ambitious.’