VTEL Holdings acquires Burundi's Africell

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

VTEL Holdings Ltd, a Dubai based telecommunications company finalised the acquisition of Africa Cellulaire (Africell) of Burundi. Africell currently possess a GSM and WiMax license and its network name is Safaris. VTEL was a failed bidder for the Kenyan SNO licence after its local shareholder failed to come up with its share funding.

A press statement issued by the company did not give details on how much VTEL paid to acquire Africell but that the partnership will help Africell expand its network and services offering starting in the second half of 2008.

VTEL will bring to Africell its financial backing in addition to knowledge of services provisioning especially in the area of broadband. “Burundi is looking for a true service provider with innovation and new value services with affordable prices,” said VTEL’s chief executive officer for Africa, Mr. Nour Atout.

He said VTEL was committed to put Burundi on the broadband map, and have Africell as the company’s showcase in Africa.“We are excited about Burundi and its growth potential,” Atout said.

Burundi has a mobile telephony penetration rate of only 2.3%, which according to VTEL creates an opportunity for the company. He said the company is confident it will bring to Africell the leadership position that it deserves. “We are proud of this acquisition and confident that it will create shareholder value, and we will expand beyond Burundi in Africa and elsewhere,” said Mr. Yousef Bazian, the chief executive officer of VTEL Holdings Limited.

He said the company will work with local partners and all stakeholders to grow the standards of the telecommunication services in the country in terms of technology and developing the local talent pool.

The Dubai-based company currently operates in emerging markets in the Middle East region, Africa, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Latin and Central America, and the Caribbean.

East African Business Week