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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 17:37 GMT
Maroc Telecom flotation a success
Vivendi Universal chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou
Vivendi Universal owns the majority of Maroc Telecom
Maroc Telecom has put a top-of-the-range price on its share debut in Casablanca and Paris next week, after investors proved eager for the stock.

The initial public offering (IPO) for 15% of the firm should raise $1bn (520m) for Morocco's finances.

Each share is worth 68.25 dirhams ($8.10), said finance and privatisation minister Fathallah Oualalou, valuing the firm at 60bn dirhams.

Initially, a minimum price of 62.56 dirhams per share had been set.

The government had put 131 million Maroc Telecom shares up for sale or 14.9% of the company.

The offering ran from 22 November to 7 December and was oversubscribed 18 times, with overseas institutional investors getting a 30% slice of the offering.

"This success is natural...Maroc Telecom is one of the most profitable telecoms firms in the world," the minister said.

"This IPO has allowed Morocco to show a strong potential in attracting investment and set a new benchmark value for the firm."

Maroc Telecom has a 70% share of the country's booming mobile phone market.

Last month, French firm Vivendi upped its stake in Maroc to 51% from 36%. Vivendi's involvement with the firm dates back to 2000 when it bought an initial stake in the firm for $2.2bn.

'Growth potential'

Data provider Dealogic claimed the deal was the largest-ever listing in Africa, outside of South Africa.

The IPO is the second-biggest share sale in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, second only to Poland's PKO.

Mr Ahizoune said: "Maroc Telecom's IPO has been a tremendous success. This success...shows that Maroc Telecom is a stock with profitability and growth potential."

The Moroccan government will use the money to tackle its budget deficit and to fund social development plans.

The stock will start trading in Casablanca and Paris on Monday, 13 December.




SEE ALSO:
Vivendi ups Moroccan phone stake
18 Nov 04 |  Business
IMF upbeat on Morocco
03 Aug 01 |  Business
Morocco launches telecoms sell-off
03 Oct 00 |  Business


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