On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is getting a foot into South Africa’s telecom market with the completion of the purchase of a 35% interest in Oger Telecom for a net price of US$ 2.56 billion. Oger Telecom owns 75% of Cell C, South Africa’s third mobile operator.

- At a presentation of Côte d’Ivoire Telecom’s plans for 2008, Koné Bruno, the General Director has hinted that while the company is aiming at offering converged services, it will also look at a closer integration with its mobile arm, Orange.

- Mobinil, Egypt's largest mobile phone operator by subscribers, has agreed a deal with banks for a LE2.2bn ($398.9m) long-term loan, the stock exchange said, reported Reuters. The stock exchange said Mobinil would sign a contract for the loan with Banque Misr, Commercial International Bank COMI, National Societe Generale Bank and HSBC Bank Egypt.

- A budding expansion plan, product diversification and operational restructuring have seen regional cable manufacturing giant East African Cables increase its pre-tax profits by 41 per cent to Sh3.5 billion for the year ended December 31. East African Cables (EAC) has over the last year embarked on the manufacture of fibre optic cables, a product it hopes will significantly add to its revenue streams as the region migrates from the use of satellite based internet connectivity to use of fibre optic cables.

- South African mobile firm MTN has reduced its stake in MTN Nigeria to 76.08%, to broaden the ownership of its Nigerian unit. Nigerian individuals and key institutions acquired a 9.45% interest in MTN Nigeria. MTN realised USD594.5 million from selling 5.96% of its own stake in the Nigerian business, according to an MTN press release. The remaining shares were sold by other minority stakeholders.

- Orascom Telecom's CEO, Naguib Sawiris has not ruled out the possibility that the company could merge with another operator in the future - although he has ruled out a complete sale of the company. In an interview with the Financial Times, Sawiris also said some western telecoms companies were "doomed" to lose their places among the 10 largest by market capitalisation unless they increased their emerging markets presence.