Money – In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The initial IPO of incumbent telco Tunisie Télécom has been suspended, pending a final decision to be taken within days with the strategic partner, Secretary of State in charge of Communication Technologies Sami Zaou.

Bharti Airtel, India's biggest mobile operator, announced net income of INR13.03 billion (US$285.7 million) for the quarter to 31 December 2010, falling from INR21.95 billion in the prior year period, on total revenue of INR157.56 billion, up 53 percent. The company saw improvements in both its African and its core India and South East Asia businesses. In Africa, an 8.7 percent sequential growth was reported, to US$911 million – no annual comparison was given for the businesses pre-acquisition.

Mobile banking is expected to grow into a $22 billion industry across Africa by 2015 on the back of skyrocketing cellphone use and growing demand for financial services, according to consultancy Juniper Research. But the competition for that market could prove messy in the coming years, pitting a fragmented field of network operators against each other, and all of them against a new breed of mobile banking company that seeks to be network agnostic, which means customers are not tied to one phone network.

South Africa's biggest mobile operator, Vodacom, hopes to be in a position to take decisive action by the end of the financial year regarding the long-standing dispute with its Congolese subsidiary, says CEO Pieter Uys. This comes after Vodacom and fellow shareholder Congolese Wireless Network (CWN) agreed, late last year, to appoint NM Rothschild & Sons to explore options for the Vodacom Congo operation.