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Mobinil Rises in Cairo on Put-Option Bets: Cairo Mover

(Corrects reference to size of Mobinil in first paragraph of story first published on Feb. 9.)

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Egyptian Co. for Mobile Services soared the most in almost 11 months on speculation the founder of the phone company known as Mobinil may sell his stake to France Telecom SA.

The shares of the Cairo-based company jumped 8.8 percent, the most since March 28, to 136.37 Egyptian pounds at the 2:30 p.m. close in Cairo. The stock has surged 72 percent during a 12-day winning streak. The benchmark EGX 30 Index advanced 0.9 percent today.

“There’s speculation the put option with France Telecom might be exercised sooner than September,” said Wafik Dawood, director of institutional sales at Cairo-based Mega Investments Securities. “But it’s all tied to Naguib Sawiris’ willingness to sell despite his well-known attachment to the company.”.

France Telecom, which owns about 71 percent of Mobinil’s parent company, agreed in April 2010 to end a 2 ½-year ownership dispute with founder Sawiris. The agreement included a put option, or a contract that gives Sawiris the option to sell his stake in Mobinil to France Telecom in the two-month period starting Sept. 15.

Mobinil has no information on talks with France Telecom, the company said in a filing to the bourse. France Telecom and Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE are in talks over the future of Mobinil, Reuters reported today, citing an unidentified person.

Sawiris’ Orascom Telecom Holding SAE completed an asset split last month, separating its Egyptian and North Korean holdings into a new company, Orascom Telecom Media. The shares of Orascom Telecom Media, which owns a stake in Mobinil as a result of the split, increased 9.2 percent to 1.43 pounds. The shares have been suspended from trading, pending a response to inquiries from the exchange.

Manal Abdel Hamid, spokeswoman for Orascom Telecom Media, didn’t return a call requesting comment. Sawiris didn’t answer two calls and a text message to his mobile phone. France Telecom Spokesman Sebastien Audra declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ahmed A Namatalla in Cairo at anamatalla@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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