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MTN, Orange and Vodacom competing to acquire Ethiopian national telco

11 Feb 2019, 05:06 pm
Financial Nigeria
MTN, Orange and Vodacom competing to acquire Ethiopian national telco

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Ethio Telecom, which has up to 66 million subscribers, will be split into two businesses, offering tremendous growth potential to new entrants.

Ethio Telecom

MTN, Orange and Vodacom are among the telecom companies vying to participate in the much-anticipated privatisation of Ethio Telecom, an integrated telecommunications services provider owned by the Ethiopian government. Expected to be concluded in 2019, the sale of the Ethiopian telecom assets is among the significant investment and consolidation activities in the African telecom, media and technology (TMT) industries this year, according to TMT Finance, the London-based news and events company.

Last week, TMT forecasted over $10 billion in TMT transactions for Africa in 2019. Apart from infrastructure initial public offering (IPO) and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals, the transactions will also come from privatisations of telecom assets, the leading news provider on TMT said.  

MTN, Africa’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, operates in 22 countries, including in the Middle East. In 2017, Vodacom Group, South Africa’s leading mobile operator, announced it would acquire a 35 percent stake in Kenya’s Safaricom for 35 billion rand ($2.6 billion). Since 2016, Orange has been on an acquisition spree in Africa’s fast-growing telecoms market as part of a strategy to boost its revenue given the saturated and static markets in Europe – the company’s home continent.  The French telecoms giant now operations in about 20 African countries and the Middle East.

Last month, Ethio Telecom took a major step forward in its expected privatisation plan by pre-selecting six consultancies in partnership with the World Bank. The national telco, which has up to 66 million subscribers, will be split into two businesses, offering tremendous growth potential to new entrants, said TMT Finance.

Other privatisations expected to take place on the continent include Togocom and Benin Telecom in West Africa, with consolidation investments expected in Kenya and Tunisia.

In 2018, Airtel Africa hired eight global investment banks, JP Morgan, Citi Group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Absa Group Limited, Barclays Bank, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs International and Standard Bank Group, for a planned IPO. Other companies expected to float IPOs in 2019 include leading regional African digital and mobile telecom infrastructure operators such as Liquid Telecom, IHS Towers, Eaton Towers and Helios Towers Africa.

Leaders in the TMT industries will meet at the upcoming 2019 TMT Finance Africa – the premier conference for the TMT industries – to assess the investment opportunities into mobile and broadband infrastructure across the region.

The 2019 TMT Finance Africa will take place in Cape Town on March 28 . Over 60 key speakers have been announced for the event, which will feature CxOs and senior executives from Vodacom, MTN, Helios Towers Africa, CSquared, Dark Fibre Africa, Seacom, Angola Cables, Standard Bank, IFC World Bank, DLA Piper, Rand Merchant Bank, WIOCC, Paix Data Centres, BCX, European Investment Bank, Investec Asset Management, GreenWish Partners, Convergence Partners, among others.


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