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Tue 21 Jul 2009 10:59 PM

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Orascom to make French bid - report

Egyptian telco may enter French market to bid for 3G license CEO confirms in interview with Le Figaro.

Orascom Telecom, the Middle East’s biggest mobile-phone company, saw its share price climb to a one month high Tuesday following news it may consider teaming-up with a partner to pitch for a 3G telephone license in France.Orascom head of investor relations Stefano Songini did not elaborate beyond comments made by CEO Naguib Sawaris in an interview published by French newspaper Le Figaro, news agency Bloomberg reported.

The possible initiative comes after recent news emerged that Vodafone Egypt is bidding for Orascom’s internet LinkDotNet unit.

Local Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al Youm claimed that Vodafone will be competing against unnamed financial institutions, as well as Telecom Egypt and Mobinil, which is partly-owned by Orascom.

Orascom CEO Naguib Sawiris revealed it would be sold to the contender with the highest bid.

Mobinil has been the centre of an ownership row between its two main shareholders, Orascom Telecom and France Telecom since 2007, with an arbitration court recently ruling that Orascom should sell its stake in a holding company that owns 51% of Mobinil to France Telecom. Orascom also has its own, direct 20% stake in Mobinil.

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