Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Corporate Internet service provider AccessKenya has raised over Ksh100 million ($1.4 million) through a private placement of its shares and those of its sister company, Broadband Access Ltd.

Managing director Jonathan Somen said the funds will be used to accelerate the group's activities in its core markets of corporate Internet and telephony services.

The new investors are all Kenyans and will hold a minority stake in the business.

"We were keen to expand the ownership of the group among well respected Kenyan investors and we have successfully achieved this goal," said Somen. "The fact that the entire private placement process was accomplished within three months is a tribute to the strength of the AccessKenya business in the fast growing Internet and telephone services market."

The proceeds from the private placement will be used to accelerate our business and benefit customers in three main ways, he said.

The funds will be used to further improve the Broadband Max Internet solution, subsidise the cost of equipment for the firm's Yello telephone service and make it free for customers to connect to Yello and to invest in further improvement of the overall national network.

This year alone, the company plans to increase its investment to between Ksh60 and Ksh 70 million ($822,000 and $959,000), said Mr Somen.

Next year, the company will spend between Ksh70 and Ksh100 million ($959,000 and $1.4 million).

Access Kenya's latest innovation for the Kenyan market is the introduction of the simple voice service. Recently, the ISP launched three products to the Kenyan market - Yello, a new telephone service that provides low-cost calls both locally and internationally; Go, a special Internet leased line package for small businesses; and Broadband Max 2. ?

As its network and capacities expand, says Somen, the company continues to use new technologies to meet its expected growth.

"We have reinvested in additional high-end Cisco routers for our core network," said Somen. " In addition, we will shortly be deploying an enterprise caching server to further enhance the speed of browsing to many frequently visited websites as well as speed up downloading of many patches, including software and antivirus updates."

AccessKenya was started in 1995 by David and Jonathan Somen.

The East African