UAE'S ETISALAT BUYS 50% OF W AFRICA'S ATLANTIQUE TELECOM

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The UAE's Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (ETISALAT.AD) Wednesday said it has bought a 50% stake in West African cellphone operator Atlantique Telecom. The deal also gives the state-owned telecom operator a 10-year contract to manage Atlantique's operations in West Africa.

Atlantique Telecom owns majority shareholdings in Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger Togo and Ivory Coast. Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat said the deal was part of the company's strategy of expanding its operations across the Middle East and Africa.

The African acquisition broadens Etisalat's international portfolio ahead of the expected opening up of the UAE telecom market to competition.The firm said last week that its Saudi GSM network, Etihad Etisalat, will open within weeks, while it is pursuing other opportunities in Turkey and Pakistan. Etisalat also has stakes in satellite phone company Thuraya, Qatar Telecom, Africa Zanzibar Telecom and Sudan Telecommunications Co. 

Dow Jones News Service