Etisalat increases stake in Atlantique

UAE already has a 10-year management contract in place in Africa.

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By  Administrator Published  May 1, 2007

Etisalat has increased its shareholding in West African operator Atlantique Telecom with the acquisition of an additional 20% of the company's shares taking its total stake to 70%.

Atlantique Telecom holds variant majority shares in seven telecoms operations in the Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Togo and the Central African Republic. These countries hold a combined population of approximately 60 million and mobile phone penetration of less than 10% at present.

Etisalat initially acquired 50% of Atlantique Telecom in 2005, and also assumed management rights for the organisation through a 10-year contract.

With Etisalat's support, Atlantique acquired a licence to enter the Cote d'Ivoire mobile market, with the company officially launching its services in July 2006. In the first five months of operations the operator, which is branded Moov, acquired a 21% market share with a subscriber base of 500,000.

"Etisalat aims to develop services across all its investments in 14 countries in Africa and Asia. Etisalat's international achievements have mirrored the growth, development and innovation in the UAE," commented Saeed Al Hamli, senior manager, Portfolio Management and Integration, Etisalat International Investments.

Etisalat, the sixth largest company in the Middle East, currently operates in 11 countries over a region extending from Pakistan to West Africa. Ahmed Julfar, Etisalat's chief operating officer stated that the company is considering further international acquisitions and suggested that it might announce further moves by the end of 2007.

Julfar hinted that the Algerian market is of particular interest to Etisalat, adding that the company is awaiting a decision by the Algerian government on a possible privatisation of Algeria Telecom or a new license in the country.

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