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Orascom rejects France Telecom’s latest bid for Mobinil

Orascom Telecom rebuffs latest attempt by France Telecom to gain full control of Mobinil

Egypt’s Orascom Telecom has attempted to thwart France Telecom’s latest attempt to gain full control of Egypt’s largest mobile operator Mobinil.

Orascom raised the stakes in the long running dispute after France Telecom this week raised its offer to buy all of the remaining shares in ECMS, which is 51% owned by Mobinil.

Orascom said in a statement that it had appealed to an Egyptian court to have the transfer of control, which was imposed by an international arbitration panel in March, blocked because of France Telecom’s “failure to pay the price of the shares by the time stipulated in the arbitration award.”

Orascom added that it had previously announced in mid April that France Telecom had failed to pay the purchase price “as required by the terms of the arbitral award issued by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.”

A panel from the Egyptian stock market was expected to consider France Telecom’s higher bid for the ECMS stake owned by Orascom imminently, according to a report from the Financial Times. The report added that Naguis Sawirib, Orascom’s chairman, said he would prefer not to sell his company’s stake in the Egyptian mobile operator at all.

The development is the latest disagreement in a long running dispute between Orascom and France Telecom, which have jointly owned ECMS since 2001.