June 15, 2019 / 6:13 PM / a year ago

Morocco's sale of 8% stake in Maroc Telecom to pump $920 mln into state budget

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RABAT, June 15 (Reuters) - The Moroccan government’s sale of an 8% percent stake in Maroc Telecom will inject 8.87 billion dirhams ($920 million) into the state budget as part of a privatisation programme, a prospectus published by the bourse regulator AMMC showed on Saturday.

A 6% stake comprising 52.74 million shares, priced at 127 dirhams ($13.2), will be sold as a block order to local institutional investors such as retirement funds, insurance companies and banks on June 17, according to the prospectus.

The remaining 2% stake will be sold on the Casablanca stock exchange in a public offering at a share price of 125 dirhams ($12.9) starting on June 26 and closing on July 5, it showed.

The 2% stake also includes 2.9 million shares, representing 0.3% of Maroc Telecom’s capital, to be sold to the company’s employees at a share price of 117.7 dirhams, the prospectus showed.

The sale will cut the state’s stake in the company to 22% from 30%.

Maroc Telecom, listed on both the Casablanca stock exchange and the Euronext exchange in Paris, is 53%-owned by the United Arab Emirates-based Etisalat.

The sale is a first step in a privatisation programme that is designed to cut the 2019 budget deficit to 3.3% of gross domestic product from 3.7% in 2018.

Besides Morocco, Maroc Telecom operates subsidiaries in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Togo and the Central African Republic.

The government also plans to sell the five-star La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech and the Tahaddart power plant in the north of the country. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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