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Rabat Plans to Sell 8% of its Stake in Maroc Telecom

Rabat Plans to Sell 8% of its Stake in Maroc Telecom

Sunday, 2 June, 2019 - 08:15
General view of Morocco's city of Moulay Driss Zerhoun (Fadel Senna, AFP)
Casablanca - Lahcen Mokena

Morocco’s Maroc Telecom (IAM) said Friday that the government plans to sell almost eight percent stake in the company. This comes in a deal which is expected to add up to 10.4 billion dirhams ($1.1 billion) to the government’s treasury, according to an informed source.

The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the government would offer part of the stake for sale, adding that it has also considered offering for public another part of the stake which was limited to Moroccan and foreign institutional investors.

Maroc Telecom, listed on both the Casablanca Stock Exchange and Euronext Paris, is 53 percent owned by United Arab Emirates company Etisalat, with the Moroccan state owning 30 percent.

A public offering on Casablanca stock exchange will be announced in the next few weeks, the company said in a statement.

Since early 2019, the company’s share price has been fluctuating between 136 dirhams and 155 dirhams per share ($14.32 and $16.32 per share).

The total number of the company’s shares is 879 million, with a nominal value of six dirhams ($0.63) per share.

The sale is the first step in a government privatization plan to pump 5 billion to 6 billion dirhams ($527 million-$633 million) into the state budget by selling state assets to cut the 2019 budget deficit to 3.3 percent of gross domestic product, the source noted.

The deficit stood at 3.8 percent in 2018. Without privatization, the budget deficit would hit 3.7 percent of GDP in 2019.

The government also plans to sell the five-star La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech and the Tahaddart power plant in north of the country.

Notably, the privatization program, which has been launched since 1993 and has been completed in phases over the past three decades, resulted in selling 51 companies and 26 hotel units through 120 partial or total privatization process.

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