MTN ups Rwanda stake

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The MTN Group has concluded an agreement to purchase a further interest in MTN Rwanda, increasing its shareholding from 40% to 55%.

The purchase of the stake from Tristar Investments, which will retain a 35% shareholding after the transaction, will be effected through MTN's wholly-owned subsidiary, MTN International (Mauritius), the company says in a statement.

MTN was awarded a national GSM licence in Rwanda in April 1998, launching MTN's expansion on the continent. Since then, MTN Rwanda has performed well, reporting 576 000 subscribers for the quarter ended 30 September 2007, up 18% from 486 000 subscribers the previous quarter, the group states.

“This acquisition demonstrates MTN's confidence in the Rwandan economy and its resolve to consolidate its position in the region,” says MTN Group CEO Phuthuma Nhleko. “We are pleased that this transaction has the endorsement of all shareholders.”

The company says MTN Rwanda continues to invest in infrastructure, products and services in the country. New investments include a 3G network, which will soon be piloted in the capital city, Kigali.

MTN Rwanda recently launched seamless roaming services with MTN Uganda; Safaricom, in Kenya; and Vodacom, in Tanzania. Seamless roaming allows subscribers free roaming between the four networks.

The operation has also rolled out fibre optic backbone infrastructure within Kigali and from Kigali up to the border of Uganda. WiMax, which has been rolled out in Kigali, is also being implemented in 12 towns across the country.