Kenya: Essar Group buys out Econet Wireless
Indian telecommunications firm, Essar Group, has assumed majority shareholding in Essar Telecom Kenya after buying out Econet Wireless Kenya. Essar Telecom Kenya Chief Executive Officer Srinivasa Iyengar, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Nation last Wednesday revealed that they now have an 80 per cent stake giving it the control required to carry out a countrywide network expansion.
“Previously, we had a 35 per cent stake which was holding us back in accessing funds from lenders. But now we have enough money to see us through our expansion programme,” said Iyengar. He said that the entire yu network rollout is costing $450 million out of which $200 million is equity through the Essar Group. “We have already received $50 million funding and the rest will be coming in phases in a five-year plan,” he said.
On Tuesday this week, the company announced that its yu network was now available countrywide. Iyengar said that in the nine months that they have been in operation, the mobile phone firm been able to net 600,000 subscribers with a target of two million by March next year.
He said the company is in talks for possible takeovers in Uganda and Congo. “The journey has been long for this brand but with the nationwide reach, we can now compete with the rest of the operators,” he said.