On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Tanzania’s communication sector has emerged as a strong growth-driver of the economy for the year 2008/09. According to the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Mr Mustafa Mkulo, the communication sector grew at 20.5 per cent during the period followed by the financial mediation with 11.9 per cent. He said that strong performance of financial intermediation mirrored the effect of the ongoing financial sector reforms, strong growth in credit to the private sector and increased competition in insurance services.

- The latest statement from France Telecom indicated that the company had no intention of increasing its offer price of 245 Egyptian pounds (US$44) for the outstanding shares in the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (ECMS), known as Mobinil. Most observers believe the extended war of words between the two companies is starting to reach a conclusion following FT's threats to pull out of the bidding, only to re-enter with a revised offer. Mobinil is seen as key to FT's Africa strategy, which Lombard has likened in importance to Telefónica's focus on Latin America.

- Telecom Egypt (TE) announced the purchase of the remaining 4.95% of shares in its broadband subsidiary, TE Data, from three local Egyptian banks. This takes TE's ownership in TE Data to 100% with immediate effect.

- Bharti Airtel Ltd. has received approval from Bangladesh's telecom regulator to invest an initial $300 million in Abu Dhabi Group's Bangladesh telecommunications asset, Warid Telecom International Ltd. The deal comes as Bharti Airtel has been looking overseas for expansion to boost slowing growth at home. It has failed twice to seal a merger with South Africa's MTN Group, with its latest bid falling through in September, because of regulatory hurdles.