Celtel records US$147 million net profit

Celtel operates in thirteen countries across Africa, having re-branded the operations in 12 of those 13 markets to Celtel by the end of 2004. Consolidated revenues for the year amounted to US$614 million, up 62% year on year, though ARPU for the year fell 16% during the year to US$21 on account of increased market penetration.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  March 6, 2005

Pan-African operator Celtel International has reported net profit of US$147 million for the year to end-2004, boosted by organic growth in subscribers and the acquisition of a 60% stake in Kenyan operator KenCell in the middle of last year. Net profit came in at US$73 million in 2003. Celtel operates in thirteen countries across Africa, having re-branded the operations in 12 of those 13 markets to Celtel by the end of 2004. Consolidated revenues for the year amounted to US$614 million, up 62% year on year, though ARPU for the year fell 16% during the year to US$21 on account of increased market penetration. The operator recorded 5.2 million managed mobile subscribers at the end of 2004, up 108% from 2.5 million at the end of the previous year. Proportionate subscribers came to 3.6 million users, up 118% year on year, with the operator reported to be in the latter stages of arranging an initial public offering that will see it seek a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg bourse. Celtel has the widest network coverage of all African operators in terms of geographic scope, and is determined to utilise this reach to offer a single tariff rate across all of its markets. Celtel is the only pan-African operator that has operations in all three East African markets of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and is looking to leverage this presence to become the dominant operator in the region. In Tanzania, Celtel together with the two other incumbent cellular operators, Millicom International and Vodacom, is set to face fresh competition from Etisalat-backed Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel), which is looking to expand its fixed and mobile services from just the island of Zanzibar to include mainland Tanzania. Zantel was originally licensed to operate fixed and mobile services only in Zanzibar, consisting of the islands of Unguja and Pemba, but on March 4 confirmed that it had been awarded a license authorizing it to operate fixed and mobile communication services on the mainland. Tanzania’s federal government decided to liberalise the country’s telecoms sector effective February 23, 2005.

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