Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Cairo November 14, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has confirmed rumours that he plans to sell his minority stake in Egypt’s second-largest mobile operator.
Sawiris currently owns a five percent stake in the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (Mobinil), which he founded in 1998, with France Telecom owning 94 percent of the mobile operator as of May 2012.
Asked about whether he was going to sell his remaining stake in Mobinil, Sawiris told CBC on Sunday evening: “But of course; they ruined the company,” referring to majority stakeholder France Telecom’s management.
“Very big companies tend to be like public sector companies,” said Sawiris, in criticism of Mobinil’s management.
France Telecom partnered with Sawiris’ Orascom Telecom in August 2001.
In 2007, disagreements over management led the two firms to resort to international arbitration, which resulted in Sawiris having to sell most of his stake to France Telecom in 2010.
Mobinil is Egypt’s second-largest mobile services provider, with 32.7 million subscribers, second only to Vodafone Egypt’s 38.2 million, according to the latest figures provided by the country’s telecoms regulator.
The company reported a net loss of LE344 million in the first half of 2014, compared to a loss of LE296 million in the same period of the previous year.
It is currently trading for LE155.34 a share on the Egyptian Stock Exchange.