CAIRO: Egypt’s regulator will not allow Orascom Telecom (OT) to buy a stake in Vodafone’s Egypt unit if the deal gives OT management stakes in two competing firms, a telecoms official said on Sunday.
In remarks published on Thursday, telecommunications firm Orascom’s Executive Chairman Naguib Sawiris had said his company would consider competing for a stake in Vodafone Egypt if it were put up for sale.
Mobile operator Mobinil, which Orascom owns jointly with France Telecom, has the biggest share of Egypt’s competitive mobile market by subscribers while Vodafone Egypt has the second largest share.
"As a basic principle, we would not allow any entity to have a major stake in two (competing) mobile companies," said the telecoms official, who asked not to be identified as any deal was, for the moment, still theoretical.
"There’s a clear conflict of interest there."
The official said he could not give a final opinion on a deal before it was actually proposed, but added he did not see how such a bid would be allowed given Orascom’s stake in Mobinil.
Telecom Egypt this month said it was considering options to enter Egypt’s mobile market, including boosting its 45 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt.
Vodafone owns the remaining 55 percent of the unit.