Orange keeps up frenetic pace of deals with Airtel stake

Thursday January 14 2016

A man walks past an Orange Telkom shop on Koinange Street in Nairobi on June 17, 2013. Orange Group has completed acquisition of Liberian telco Cellcom, as it clears its exit from Kenya by selling 70 per cent stake at Telkom Kenya. PHOTO |  FILE |

A man walks past an Orange Telkom shop on Koinange Street in Nairobi on June 17, 2013. Orange Group has completed acquisition of Liberian telco Cellcom, as it clears its exit from Kenya by selling 70 per cent stake at Telkom Kenya. PHOTO | FILE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP.

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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French Telcom operator Orange plans to acquire Airtel’s operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone, after offloading its stakes in Kenya and Uganda.

The French firm has committed to acquire 100 per cent of the two companies’ share capital. The consolidated revenue of the two companies is around Sh30.5 billion.

The deal follows an announcement Tuesday that it would acquire 100 per cent of Liberia’s Cellcom Telecommunications Limited.

“The outlay for Orange for these transactions will be based on the financials of Airtel’s two subsidiaries for the year ended March 31, 2016 and will represent the equivalent of 7.9 times Airtel’s ebitda in these two countries at this time,” Orange said in a statement adding that the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

High – potential emerging markets

Recent moves by the French firm shows its strategy which prioritises growth in high – potential emerging markets where the group is not already present.

Last year, Orange finally sold 70 per cent of its stake at Telkom Kenya after, after initiating the move three years ago and failing at it. The transfer of its shares to Helios Investment Partners still awaits regulatory approval.

Nonetheless, the firm seems to have had a relief from its loss making arm in Kenya and has begun efforts to make money from other promising markets.

The deal now increases Orange’s presence in Africa to 20 countries. The acquisitions also add 5.5 million customers to Orange.