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Moroccan court ruling impacts e&’s investments in Maroc Telecom

Maroc Telecom, listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange and Euronext Paris, is 53% owned by UAE's Etisalat, with the Moroccan state holding a 22% stake.

E& Group has expressed its disappointment with the Court of Appeal of Casablanca’s decision on July 3, 2024, which rejected the appeal filed by Maroc Telecom “MT”, a subsidiary of e&. This decision upholds the Commercial Court of Rabat’s ruling from January 29, 2024, mandating MT to pay 6.368bn Moroccan dirhams (approximately USD 645m) to Wana Corporate for alleged anti-competitive practices.

As a major shareholder in MT, with a 53% stake, e& Group remains confident in its continuous compliance with all regulatory laws and regulations across its operating markets. The group firmly believes in the validity of Maroc Telecom’s legal position and intends to pursue all available legal avenues to appeal this ruling and protect e&’s investments in Maroc Telecom. E& assures its shareholders that this court decision will not impact the consolidated results of e& Group for the second quarter of 2024 or subsequent periods, due to adequate coverage of international regulatory risks.

H.E. Jassem Mohamed Bu Ataba Alzaabi, Chairman of e& Group, said: “It is unfortunate that while global capital is looking to leverage the transformative power of technology to enhance digital infrastructure, smart government services, and digital solutions for people, a challenging regulatory environment negatively affects the future outlook of our investments in Morocco.”

Hatem Dowidar, CEO of e& Group, added: “e& Group is committed to fully complying with the laws in the markets where we operate. Empowering communities digitally has been a cornerstone of e&’s success over the past decades. We affirm that driving the digital future requires constructive cooperation between service providers, regulators, and legislators to foster the desired development of communities and individuals.”

Hatem Dowidar also emphasised that all options are on the table regarding e&’s investment in MT due to the repeated setbacks caused by regulatory penalties, legal judgments, and resolutions that limit Maroc Telecom’s ability to compete in the market. Over the past few years, this has cost MT more than MAD 12bn (more than USD 1.2bn) in penalties — one of the highest in the telecom sector worldwide — impeding Maroc Telecom’s future investments.