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Sun 3 May 2009 08:41 PM

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Fresh doubts emerge over Orascom deal

Shares in Egyptian mobile firm fall after report that Mobinil stake sale to France Telecom may not go through.

Shares in Egyptian mobile firm Orascom Telecom dipped on Sunday after a report that a deal to sell its stake in Mobinil to France Telecom might not go through, helping lead the rest of the market down.

The daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, citing sources close to France Telecom, reported that the French firm was ready to work with Orascom, which had been ordered by an arbitration court to sell its stake in Mobinil.

OT had no comment on the report but its shares slipped 2.3 percent to close at 31.30 Egyptian pounds ($5.56). The benchmark EGX 30 index ended down 24.51 points, or 0.5 percent, at 5,166.83 points.

"If the deal doesn't go through then obviously Orascom would not be getting that money," said Yasser Hassanein, managing director of Dynamic Securities, citing the newspaper report as helping drive down the share price.

Another trader said uncertainty about the outcome of the deal was weighing on shares in both Orascom and Mobinil, which slipped 0.5 percent to close at 206.90 pounds.

Egypt's market regulator says France Telecom should tender to buy all shares in Mobinil as part of a court ruling that it purchase Orascom's stake in a holding company that owns 51 percent of Mobinil.

Orascom said in April that France Telecom had not met the deadline but has said it would prefer to retain its Mobinil stake. (Reuters)

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