Celtel Goes for 80 Percent of Westel in Ghana

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Information gathered by the Business Chronicle from a source at the Ministry of Communications indicates that the Government of Ghana and Celtel Communication based in The Netherlands have agreed on $125 million for 80% of Western Telesystems Limited (Westel) shares.

This is above the 66.34% that the Telecom Company originally wanted to buy.

The government of Ghana started negotiating with Celtel after negotiations between Ghana Government and the United Arab Emirates-based Kinz Telecom Group, over the sale of 66.34% stake in the second national fixed line operator, Western Telesystems Limited (WESTEL) broken down.

Negotiations took a different turn when the government team managed to increase the price from US$95million to US$250million, and Kinz Telecom was required to pay up within 45 days but they could not. Kinz Telecom was also to pay US$25 million in penalty owed by WESTEL to the National Telecommunications Authority, (NCA), the industry regulator and additional US$13.5 million for the mobile licence to the NCA.

This prompted the government to look at the offer from Celtel, which placed second in the selection process.

In a chart with the Group Marketing and Communications Manager of Celtel, Mr. Mwambu Wanendeya over the internet to confirm the negotiations, he said his outfit does not discuss details of their business development efforts in the open 'but we continue to be keen to enter Ghana's thriving telecoms market and support its growing economy'.

Celtel is the most successful pan-African mobile network, offering telecommunications services to more people in Africa than any other network. The company is one of the best-known branded businesses in Africa with mobile licenses covering more than 400 million people, close to half of Africa's population. Under the brand promise of 'Making Life Better', the company is committed to achieving sustainable development of telecommunications in Africa.

Celtel has more than 17 million customers and operates mobile cellular operations in 14 countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Celtel was founded by Dr Ibrahim who hails from Sudan and was Technical Director of UK mobile operator BT Cellnet before founding MSI Cellular (Celtel's parent company) in 1998.

(Source: Ghanaian Chronicle)