Maroc Telecom employees check their phones as they leave the company headquarters on the outskirts of Rabat, on Tuesday. UAE telecom firm Etisalat says it plans to sell its operations in six West African countries to Maroc Telecom as it prepares to take majority control of the Moroccan company after France's Vivendi in November agreed to sell its 53 percent stake to Etisalat for euro4.2 billion ($5.8 billion). Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, also known as etisalat, has successfully completed the acquisition of Vivendi’s 53 per cent stake in Itissalat Al Maghrib (Maroc Telecom) on Wednesday.

The final consideration amounted to €4.14 million (Dh20.86 billion) and etisalat will start to consolidate Maroc Telecom and its subsidiaries from this month.

Etisalat bought into Maroc Telecom through a separate legal entity, etisalat International North Africa (Eina). The effective interests in the capital of Eina are etisalat (91.3 per cent) and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (8.7 per cent).

In addition to the 2012 dividends already distributed in 2013, etisalat is also entitled to receive six Moroccan dirhams (Dh2.69) per share dividend for the year 2013, to be distributed by Maroc Telecom next month.

“It is a perfect bit for etisalat and they are in the right direction. They can use their products and services which are highly acceptable in this part of the world. Africa is a prefect building ground for etisalat,” said Bhanu Chaddha, senior telecom analyst at research firm International Data Corporation.

Dividend pay-outs

Since the UAE market is getting saturated, he said etisalat needs to look at diversification. The international operations are now delivering the benefits for etisalat and that strategy is moving in the right direction.

The total amount of dividend pay-outs to the acquired shares for 2012 and 2013 is 6.2 billion Moroccan dirhams (equivalent to €555 million) out of which 5.7 billion Moroccan dirhams (equivalent to €507 million) is to go to etisalat.

As per stock market regulations in Morocco, filing of a tender offer to acquire the remaining shares in a company is mandatory when a legal entity comes to own, directly or indirectly, more than 40 per cent of the voting rights of that company. As a result, etisalat will make an initial filing of the tender offer documentation with the Moroccan Capital Market Authority within the prescribed time period.