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Maroc Telecom now holds 61% stake in Burkina Faso's Onatel

Maroc Telecom now holds 61% stake in Burkina Faso's Onatel

Maroc Telecom Group has acquired an additional 10% stake in Burkina Faso's major telecoms operator Onatel SA and increased its shareholding to 61%.

In a statement, Maroc Telecom said it paid €41 million for the stake at a price of CFAF 8,000 per share.

"This transaction allows Maroc Telecom to strengthen its stake in the leading operator in Burkina Faso. As a reminder, Maroc Telecom has entered into a strategic partnership with the state of Burkina Faso since the privatisation of the operator in 2006," the Group said.

The deal was conducted at the Abidjan Regional Stock Exchange and it involves 3,360,655.7376 shares totaling FCFA 26,885,245,901.

Maroc Telecom entered the Burkina Faso market in 2006 when it acquired a 51% stake in Onatel SA. Now that it controls 61% of the company, Onatel SA's balance of forces has been readjusted as the government now holds 20% share, public shareholders controls 13% while staff of the company holds 6% stake in the operator.

This latest move is a major step towards a Maroc Telecom takeover of Onatel SA which is Burkina Faso's biggest network with over 7.2 million subscribers. The company offers mobile, fixed and internet services.

Industry experts described Maroc Telecom's action as one that is in line with the group's persistent interest in consolidating its operations outside Morocco.

In February 2018, ITWeb Africa reported that African subsidiaries stabilisd the group's 2017 earnings.

Abdeslam Ahizoune, Chairman of the Group's Management Board, said, "The growth of Maroc Telecom Group's results demonstrates its resilience as well as its agility to anticipate market developments. Its high ability to control its costs and its profitable investment policy allow the Group to improve its margins particularly in the African subsidiaries."

Onatel SA is Maroc Telecom's second largest African subsidiary after Côte d'Ivoire.

The Group is also seeking to protect its market share from Orange which acquired Airtel Burkina Faso in 2017 and is seeking to increase its investment and expand its network so it can compete with Onatel SA for market share.

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