According to local press reports, the Gabonese government is preparing to sell more shares held in three companies relating to telecoms, water and energy, and banking.
Putting the sale down to a lack of cash and a need to build up financial resources, the reports say that according to the 2021 finance law, the country’s parliament has now authorized the state to sell its assets held in the Gabon Energy and Water Company (SEEG), the Gabonese Banking Union (UGB) ) and Moov Africa Gabon Télécom.
At the moment, the state’s share of SEEG is 51 percent, of UGB 26.09 percent and of Gabon Telecom 49 percent. The recently passed law specifies that the assets in all three groups will be reserved for Gabonese investors.
According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate the state previously sold a 51 percent stake in the telecom operator to Maroc Telecom and currently owes the majority shareholder around $18.4 million. It adds that the Gabonese state will retain a holding in Gabon Télécom in order to monitor its progress.
Gabon Telecom SA is the largest telecommunications company in the country, which has a population of just over two million; it has interests in both fixed and mobile communications. Gabon Telecom was privatised in 2007 when Maroc Telecom bought a 51 percent stake in the operator. In June 2016 Maroc Telecom merged Gabon Telecom with Moov Gabon, reducing the number of mobile network operators in the country from four to three.
Maroc Telecom recently announced plans to rebrand its eleven subsidiaries in Africa as Moov Africa, effective from the beginning of this year. Maroc Telecom had an estimated 1.4 million subscribers in Gabon in the first half of 2020.