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Moroccan royal family’s Al Mada, Maroc telecom ordered to pay Inwi $630 million

Key Points:

  • A Moroccan appeals court upheld a $630-million compensation ruling against Maroc Telecom for unfair competition practices.
  • The fine exceeds Maroc Telecom’s 2023 profit and follows a previous 3.3-billion dirham fine by the telecom regulator.
  • Maroc Telecom, partially owned by UAE’s Etisalat and the Moroccan state, operates widely across Africa, while Inwi is controlled by the Moroccan royal family’s investment fund.

A Moroccan appeals court upheld a ruling on Wednesday, ordering Maroc Telecom to pay 6.3 billion dirham ($630 million) to its competitor, Wana Corporate, known as Inwi. Inwi, the third-largest telecom operator in Morocco, accused Maroc Telecom of abusing its dominant market position in 2021. The court’s decision reinforced the initial ruling, highlighting Maroc Telecom’s unfair competition practices.

Financial Impact and Regulatory Actions

The compensation amount exceeds Maroc Telecom’s 2023 profit of 6.1 billion dirham. This ruling follows a 2020 fine by Morocco’s telecom regulator (ANRT). The ANRT fined Maroc Telecom 3.3 billion dirham for hindering competitors’ access to unbundling on its network and the fixed market. These penalties demonstrate the ongoing regulatory scrutiny and financial repercussions for Maroc Telecom’s market behavior.

Ownership and Market Presence

Maroc Telecom, listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange and Euronext Paris, is 53-percent controlled by UAE’s Etisalat, with the Moroccan state holding a 22-percent stake. The company operates subsidiaries in several African countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Togo. Inwi, not a listed company, is controlled by the private investment fund Al Mada of the Moroccan royal family. This competitive landscape illustrates the dynamic and often contentious nature of the telecom sector in Morocco and beyond.

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