On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Orascom Telecom is to increase its stake in Hutchison Telecom International by 3.7%, lifting its overall ownership to 23%. ‘It'll take a couple of weeks because we'll have to get approvals from countries in which they are operating,’ Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris commented. Orascom operates GSM networks in Algeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and is traded on the Egyptian bourse and on the London Stock Exchange. The firm's subscribers exceeded 30 million by the end of 2005, and Sawiris is keen for the company to expand its reach. 'We think things will pop up in the coming two years ... we're looking at increasing our footprint in Europe because just being in Italy alone [via Wind] is very lonely,' he said, before adding, ‘There are single operators in Austria, there's one in France, there's one in Holland, so there are opportunities still open. If you look at what happened in America, all the big guys came together and there's half the number of operators you used to have a number of years ago... It's very clear that size matters.’

- DATATEL's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Christain Ogoo disclosed his company would soon start selling shares to the local populace as they increase their network countrywide for which they have sourced funds. He said they have sourced a loan of $15 million that would be used to build additional cell sites across Sierra Leone. The CEO said DATATEL is no longer an individual, but now a public entity that would have 40% of its shares sold out to would be buyers.

- Investor confidence in South African technology company Datacentrix has returned, with its shares briefly jumping 15% to R3,40 after strong year-end results made up for disappointing interims. The interim glitch was eradicated as its revenue hit R1bn for the first time in its history. For the year ending February 28, its revenue was up 17% from R882m, and attributable profit of R49,9m was up from R42m. Headline earnings per share of 28,7c were 12% up from 25,7c a year ago.