Unitel valued at USD7bn; PT stake USD1.31bn

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Angola’s leading cellco Unitel has been valued at USD7 billion, and Portugal Telecom’s (PT’s) minority stake at USD1.31 billion, according to a report released by Brazilian operator Oi, which is in the process of merging with PT, MacauHub writes. Oi noted that the Angolan asset is being prepared for sale (while recent Portuguese newspaper reports claimed that Oi/PT are in negotiations with unnamed parties on how to divest the Unitel shareholding).

PT owns a 75% stake in holding company Africatel, which in turn owns 25% of Unitel (giving the Portuguese group an effective 18.75% stake), with three other Angolan shareholders MSTelcom, Vidatel and Geni each owning 25% stakes, while the largest individual shareholder (with direct and indirect stakes in at least three of the aforementioned entities) is billionaire businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos. In 2007 PT sold 25% of the Africatel holding to a Nigerian fund.

Lintel CEO divulges future plans; hopes to add two new markets within next three years

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ziad Dalloul, the chief executive of Africell’s Lebanese parent company Lintel Holding, has revealed that the company generated annual sales of USD220 million in 2013, up 30% year-on-year. Lintel, which owns operations in Gambia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), also recently paid USD12 million for the assets of Orange Uganda, and Dalloul is optimistic that he can reverse the unit’s flagging fortunes before too long.

While confirming that regulatory approval for the takeover was finalised last week, he told the WSJ: ‘Orange’s board decided to withdraw from some losing operations. For us, it was a good opportunity. They have a very good network, with 3G and Long Term Evolution [technology] … We think that we can turn it around in a year.’ Meanwhile, with regards to the group’s pan-African expansion plans, he noted: ‘We hope to achieve [a footprint in] at least two markets within the next three years … [a target is] any market that has less than 50% mobile penetration.’