On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Vodafone Group has announced that its ZAR25 billion (USD2.5 billion) offer to acquire another 15% stake in South African cellular operator Vodacom from Telkom South Africa has been accepted. The deal will raise Vodafone’s stake in Vodacom from 50% to 65%. Telkom is looking to offload its remaining 35% interest in Vodacom to Telkom shareholders.

- Foreign investors in ICT sector will now take three years after launch of business to source for local partners. Previously, foreigners were required to have local investors on board before they were issued with a licence. The Government's move is aimed at attracting foreign investments in the fast-growing ICT sector seen as critical to Kenya's economy.

- Telecoms infrastructure and support systems supply group Africa Cellular Towers posted a 32% increase in headline earnings per share for the six months to August as it continued to benefit from strong demand in the buoyant African cellular market.

Revenue increased 35% to R239m from R177m, and gross profit jumped 56% to R89m due to efforts by the company to move to "supply-only" contracts where higher margins are earned.

- Lawyers for South Africa’s technology group Altech have won the right to grill MTN on its planned R1.4bn acquisition of Verizon, setting the stage for ferocious questioning at the Competition Tribunal.

- Egypt's outsourcing sector is getting a boost of international recognition. The country was recently awarded the prize for best outsourcing destination by the British National Outsourcing Association (NOA). This comes as much needed encouragement, with the government trying to attract more investment to the sector at a time of international economic gloom.

- South Africa’s largest cellular operator in terms of subscribers, Vodacom, has seen earnings climb 12.5% in the first half of its fiscal year on the back of subscriber growth. Operating profit for the six months to the end of September reached ZAR6.4 billion (USD635 million), while sales for the period were up 14% year-on-year at ZAR26 billion. The firm said customer numbers were up 13.1% to 35.7 million.

- Indian telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) is planning to bid for licenses in Africa, chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal announced last week. "We are looking to expand beyond India. We are currently looking at Africa and West Asia, where telecom penetration is relatively low," he said.