MILLICOM CLOSES AFRICAN BUYOUTS IN TANZANIA AND SIERRA LEONE
Luxembourg-based cellular operator Millicom International Cellular S.A. on Wednesday said it has completed the buyout of its minority partners in MIC Tanzania Ltd. and Millicom Sierra Leone Ltd. Millicom has also reached agreement to cancel a call option on an equity interest in Millicom Ghana Ltd., it said. The values of the deals weren't disclosed. Following these transactions, Millicom now has 100% ownership in all three operations. The company said the transactions will strengthen its presence in Africa, where cellular operators continue to see very strong growth.
Marc Beuls, Millicom president and chief executive said:"These three transactions are consistent with our stated strategy of delivering value to shareholders through increasing our shareholding in our existing operations by buying out minority partners. Africa has once again seen particularly strong growth, and given the relatively low mobile penetration rates in these markets compared to other regions of the world, we have every reason to expect that this will continue in the future."
Millicom currently operates in seven African countries, and also has a significant presence in Latin America and Asia. Millicom has a total population under license of 146 million in Africa, with a weighted average cellular penetration of just 7% in the African countries in which it operates. In December 2005, the company had two million subscribers in Africa and this was the fastest growing region for Millicom in 2005, with subscriber growth of 80%.