France Telecom Takes 40 Percent Stake in Jordanian Telco

BOSTON (01/24/2000) - France Telecom SA has taken a 40 percent stake in Jordanian Telecom Co. (JTC), the national telecommunications operator currently being privatized by Jordan's government.

The deal, announced today, is valued at US$508 million, France Telecom said in a written statement. France Telecom and Arab Bank are working in partnership on the deal, and formed a joint-holding company, Jitco, to handle the acquisition.

France Telecom owns 88 percent of Jitco, and Arab Bank owns the remaining 12 percent.

The investment is viewed by France Telecom as important to its international development strategy of targeting emerging markets, and also allows the company to consolidate its services in the Middle East, where it is in wireless and pay phone markets in Egypt and wireless and data communications services in Lebanon, the company said. Brigitte Bourgoin, head of the France Telecom's new southern Europe and Mediterranean division, is in charge of the venture with JTC.

JTC now has 600,000 lines in place serving 12 percent of the population. France Telecom intends to offer new services for consumers and businesses, including fixed-line telephony, Internet access and wireless. JTC mobile telephone service also will be offered by France Telecom through its PetraCell subsidiary in September of this year. Those services are part of a five-year renewable contract between JTC and France Telecom.

France Telecom, in Paris, can be reached at +33-144-44-2222 or at http://www.francetelecom.com/.

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