The Moroccan government has further clarified its plans to sell eight percent of its shares in Maroc Telecom, announcing that up to six percent of the shares will be sold exclusively to local institutional investors, such as banks and insurance companies.
With the Moroccan governments ownership of the company expected to drop to 22 percent following the sale, the companys principal stockholder will remain the Emirati company Etisalat, which currently owns 53 percent of Maroc Telecom.
By reserving a majority of its sales for local investors, the Moroccan governments move has been interpreted as an attempt to prevent an even greater percentage of Maroc Telecoms ownership being exported to the UAE.
Maroc Telecom remains, by a wide margin, the most widely used phone and internet provider in Morocco, with over 43 percent of the market share. This has led to concern from the government and Moroccan public over the large number of shares owned by the foreign-based company Etisalat.
Furthermore, Maroc Telecom remains influential throughout Africa, with the company owning subsidiaries in a number of countries ranging from Mali and Mauritania to Niger and the Central African Republic.
The remaining 2 percent of stakes to be sold by the government, approximated at over 17 million shares, are planned to be listed on the Casablanca stock exchange as a public offering.
The sale is part of a government privatization plan designed to slash the 2019 budget deficit by 0.6 percent, lowering it to 3.3 percent from 3.8 percent by flooding the federal budget with $633 million.
The government also plans to bring several hundred million more into the budget by selling La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech and the Tahaddart power plant in northern Morocco.
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