After 24 years of partnership, Orange SA (formerly France Telecom) and Mauritius Telecom (MT) could separate. The French telecommunications operator is considering selling its 40% share in MT. According to information published by Bloomberg on Friday, Orange SA is considering this possibility because “these assets are no longer considered essential”, according to sources close to the matter.

If the decision is made to move forward, the first interested party could be the Mauritian government, with whom talks could take place for the repurchase of these shares.

“The French company has discussed its potential exit plan with advisors,” according to the sources, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential. Orange has not yet entered into formal discussions with the Mauritius Telecom board regarding its interest in a share buyback, one of the sources said. A decision could be made in November, said another source, specifies Bloomberg.

If it does decide to sell, Orange SA will most likely do so at a high price, MT being the main telecommunications operator in Mauritius and the region. On June 14, MT made public its turnover for the 2023/24 financial year which is Rs 12.7 billion, an increase of 11.2% compared to the previous year. For comparison, the MT group achieved a consolidated turnover of Rs 3.6 billion during the 1999-2000 financial year.

However, according to Bloomberg's sources, “deliberations are at an early stage and Orange could choose to hold the assets for longer.”

Still according to Bloomberg, “the stake in Mauritius Telecom became less strategic for the French operator after its brand was abandoned and operations were renamed My.T. Orange's minority stake also means less influence in the country”.

Since the change of government in December 2014, MT has made a 180-degree turn in its branding. Under the Labor era, Orange had gained ground. The Cellplus mobile telephone service had been renamed Orange, as had the Internet service, in return for royalties which it had to pay to France Telecom. MT also relied on its minority partner to supply itself with equipment.

The arrival of Sherry Singh at the head of MT in January 2015 triggered a “re-Mauritianization” of services and branding, the Orange brand having been replaced by My.T.

The Franco-Mauritian strategic partnership was signed in November 2000 by the MSM/MMM government, which came to power on September 11 of the same year. Part of the deal, which allowed the Mauritian government to pocket Rs 7.3 billion, had already been discussed under the previous Labor government.

France Telecom went through Rimcom Ltd to acquire this 40%. In 2004, France Telecom itself was partly privatized with the French state falling below the 50% share mark.

Currently, the French state owns 26.94% of shares. On July 1, 2013, France Telecom changed its name to Orange SA

Currently, 40% of MT's shares belong to Rimcom Ltd, a subsidiary of Orange SA, 33.49% to the Government of Mauritius, and 19% to SBM Holdings Ltd. The National Pensions Fund owns 6.55% of the shares and MT employees own 0.96% of the company's shares.

Requested on Saturday by Le Dimanche/L'Hebdo, an authorized source at MT indicated that MT will not comment for the moment. In its article, Bloomberg emphasizes having asked Orange SA for a comment, without response.

Leave a reply below

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Contact Business

Captcha Code