On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The Cameroon government is reported to have received at least six bids for the 51% stake it is selling in state owned telco Cameroon Telecommunications (Camtel). The government revealed plans to sell part of Camtel earlier this month, and France Telecom was thought to be interested in acquiring the stake. The French telco has declined to comment on whether it has, or plans to make a bid. The auction was initially scheduled for 17 March but has now been pushed back to the end of the month. The government wants to sell the stake either to a single telco or to a consortium led by one. Camtel had 110,000 fixed line customers at the end of 2005.

Telecom Egypt posted an 82% increase in profit for 2005 to $380m, on an increase in revenues of $1.43bn, up 8%. The company expects similar growth in 2006, through new fixed-line subscribers, revenue from Algeria and an imminent increase in local call prices. Telecom Egypt (TE) plans to raise the price of some of its services by up to 25% to help eliminate losses from its local voice telephony services. TE Chairman Akil Bashir told a news conference that the tariff changes will partially offset losses, which he estimated at between EGP800 million (USD140 million) to EGP1 billion (USD175 million) a year. The telco will raise the monthly tariff and reduce the number of bundled minutes of its fixed line call plans from 1 April, Bashir said.

-Ericsson's market unit sub-Saharan Africa (MUSA) has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Marconi's South African operations into its fold. This follows Ericsson's completion of its international acquisition of parts of Marconi Corporation's telecom business on January 23, 2006. This move follows Ericsson's purchase of a 74.99 percent stake in Marconi Communications South Africa (Pty.) Ltd. with the remaining 25.01 percent being held by local black empowerment company, African Renaissance Holdings Ltd. This transaction was finalised on February 27 2006