TELECOMS

Merger to Strengthen Warid's Presence in Uganda

Dhabi Group's Warid Telecom partnership with Essar Group will boost and further strengthen the presence and competitiveness of the telecom company in the local market, the company chief executive officer has said.

Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, two days after Essar legally acquired 51 per cent shares in the two-year-old telecom company, Warid CEO Zulqarnain Javaid said they [Warid] intend to use Essar's skills, experience in telecoms and buying power to build capacity for better and cheaper telecom services.

"We will improve our marketing spend in advertising new and available products. We will also be more innovative next year," said Javaid. Essar, which now owns majority shares in Warid Telecom, is an Indian-based company which also has shares in Vodafone.

Warid plans to put up more than 150 base stations next year and expand its coverage to Kibale, Pader and Adjuman districts as away of strengthening its market position. Though Essar owns 51 per cent shares in the telecom company, Javaid said they will neither re-brand nor restructure. "We have spent the last two years building our brand and we agreed that there will no rebranding," he said.

Essar, which is said to have revenues of over $15 billion, also owns 'YU' telecom in Kenya. To capitalise on growth opportunity in Uganda and Africa, Javaid said the company opted for shareholders instead of borrowing money to collectively enhance its services, grow their customer touch points and expand the network in the two countries where it operates.

"With this new equity, we will go for a major expansion programmes which is really a bright future for Warid," he said. Last month, MTN raised $100 million through syndicated loan for network expansion. The deal cost $318 million (Shs636 billion) for the two companies in Uganda and Congo Brazzaville.

The Monitor

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