Africell buys Tigo in Sierra Leone

Telecoms

Millicom International has sold its Sierra Leone subsidiary to Africell Holding for an undisclosed amount, according to a report in Cellular World.

Source at Millicom (Tigo) in Sierra Leone disclosed that the news came to them as a surprise, “we were not informed by management about the deal; we only saw it on the Internet that Africell has bought Tigo when we came in this morning.” An atmosphere of distress could be sensed at Tigo’s Wilkinson Road head office. The usually busy office was virtually empty, the few staff around fiddled with their computers, while others seated in groups waiting for Tigo’s management to decide their fate.

Tigo’s staff which is about 900 both permanent and freelancers is really worried as to whether the new Africell management will absorb them after they have been paid off.

The operator, trading as Tigo was earmarked for sale by Millicom late last year, shortly after the regulator announced that all operators would be required to reach a minimum of 50% population coverage by the end of the year.

Africell Holding has been operating in Sierra Leone since 2005 and is one of the leading mobile operators in Sierra Leone. The company said that the acquisition will contribute to domestic consolidation, and further enhance its market leadership in Sierra Leone.

Completion of the transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and procedures. Sierra Leone currently has four mobile networks, with a fifth licensed but yet to be launched. According to figures from the Mobile World, their respective market shares are: Zain (32.6%); Comium (16.2%); Africell (41.3%) and Millicom/Tigo (9.91%).

Cellular World