On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Sudatel has signed a facility agreement worth USD50 million with several banks. QNB Al Islami will finance USD25 million of the total, while the remainder will be jointly financed by Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) and Al Salam Bank. The telco has yet to release plans indicating how it will use the money.

- Ghana’s Minister for Communication, Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, has confirmed that the government has not yet taken any investment decision concerning the full or partial privatisation of national fixed line operator Ghana Telecom (GT). Ghana has received several bids for the telco, all of which have been rejected, but says it is still in the hunt for a suitable strategic investor. Industry sources say that whoever wins will not get the keys to the front door until after the election.

- South Africa-based mobile operator MTN has agreed to buy 100% of corporate internet service provider Verizon South Africa, which is currently owned by US-based Verizon Communications (70%) and local group Jay & Jayendra (30%). The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Verizon South Africa provides data/internet services to corporate customers in South Africa, and via subsidiaries in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Kenya.

- Etisalat says it has already invested NGN118 billion (USD1 billion) on its network in Nigeria. Etisalat is the operating partner and 40%-owner of EMTS (known locally as Mubadala).EMTS launched a limited offering in March 2008 and is currently testing its network ahead of full launch, as well as talking with competitors on the possibility of sharing facilities.

- Paris-based telecoms giant France Telecom (FT) is considering plans to enter the Algerian market in 2008 either through the purchase of one of the nation’s two privately-run operators or by acquiring a 3G mobile licence.FT has previously been linked with a bid for state owned PTO Algerie Telecom, but the latter’s privatisation has been repeatedly delayed. The French telco was also approached by Orascom of Egypt and Qatar’s Qtel last year concerning a possible deal for their respective Algerian-owned mobile operators Djezzy and Nedjma, but talks failed to deliver any concrete deal, La Tribune said. It is understood FT would only consider entering the north African market through a strategic partnership.