Spain’s Telefonica and Portugal Telecom have completed their exit of Morocco by selling their combined 64.36 percent interest in Meditel – the country’s second-largest mobile operator – to a consortium of minority shareholders. Local Meditel shareholders FinanceCom, RMA Watanya and Fipar Holding will jointly pay EUR400 million (US$573.4 million) to both Telefonica and Portugal Telecom to take majority control of the firm. The two European operators each held 32.18 percent stakes in the firm. The fee assumes a total enterprise value of EUR1.62 billion for Meditel, Portugal Telecom said.

In a statement, Telefonica said that “it is the appropriate time to crystallise the value created throughout this decade in Morocco.” It noted that both itself and Portugal Telecom had been involved in Meditel for over ten years adding that both “have significantly contributed to the growth of the company and have allowed it to become the second operator in the Moroccan wireless market and to achieve an outstanding competitive position in the mobile broadband segment through the development of a top quality 3G network.” According to Wireless Intelligence data, Meditel had 8.6 million connections by end of 2Q09 behind market-leader Maroc Telecom – controlled by French conglomerate Vivendi – on 14.3 million.