Jul 19 2011
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Morocco to sell part of Maroc Telecom stake
19 July 2011
RABAT: The Moroccan government will sell part of its 30 percent stake in Maroc Telecom after a spending push to calm street protests eroded its public finances and raised concern over its ability to fund key projects.
A source familiar with the plan told Reuters Friday the government had revived plans to sell part of its stake.
The Finance and Economy Ministry said Monday it will sell up to 7 percent of Maroc Telecom’s capital, or 61.53 million shares. French Vivendi holds a 53 percent stake in the firm.
The stake is worth 8.86 billion dirhams ($1.1 billion) based on Maroc Telecom’s closing stock price Friday.
At 144 dirhams a share, Maroc Telecom trades at 13.4 times its forecast 2011 earnings, but even though the firm has no debt, its growth prospects are relatively modest, the manager said.
“It’s an expensive stock: The firm expects its EBITDA to rise 1-2 percent this year, so the growth potential is not quite there. The market will expect the government to offer a discount on Friday’s closing price,” the manager said.
Maroc Telecom has subsidiaries in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mali, but Morocco is its main source of profit. “Competition in Morocco is very tough, the regulator here is all over telecom companies,” said the manager.
If completed in 2011, the transaction will be the third asset sale by the government this year. It raised 5.3 billion dirhams from the impromptu sale in May of a stake in Banque Centrale Populaire and Friday cashed in 655 million dirhams from the sale of a salt firm to local Delta Holding .© Copyright The Daily Star 2011.
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