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Fri 1 Oct 2010 12:39 PM

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Etisalat's Moroccan opportunities shrinking

France Telecom beat it to a 40% stake in Morocco's 2nd biggest telecom operator.

Etisalat's Moroccan opportunities shrinking
SHRINKING OPPORTUNITIES: Etisalat sees shrinking investment opportunities in Morocco after France Telecom beat it to a stake in local operator, Meditel. (Getty Images)

Etisalat sees shrinking investment opportunities in Morocco after France Telecom beat it in the race to acquire a stake in local operator Meditel, a company executive was quoted as saying.

Etisalat had said it was interested in acquiring a stake in Meditel, Morocco's second biggest telecoms operator, but France Telecom last week signed a deal to take a 40 percent share for 640 million euros ($840 million).

Speaking to Morocco's al Watan weekly, Ahmed Ben Ali, first deputy chairman, Etisalat, said: "After the Meditel deal, I believe investment opportunities in Morocco have shrunk compared to the past, especially as the three Moroccan telecom operators now have strategic partners."

Etisalat, based in the UAE, has been expanding aggressively overseas after losing its monopoly in its home market. It is present in 18 markets globally, in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Meditel competes in the Moroccan market with former monopoly Maroc Telecom, in which French group Vivendi owns a majority stake, and with Wana, in which Kuwaiti telecoms firm Zain has a minority share. (Reuters)