Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

AIG African Infrastructure Fund received US$214 million in the recent sale of Celtel International to the Kuwait mobile operator, Mobile Telecommunications Company.

EMP Global LLC said last week the sale was more than four times the US$50 million investment it made in Celtel. This demonstrates EMP's strength in delivering superior returns to its fund investors.

Tom Gibian, Managing Director of EMP and Chief Operating Officer of the Africa Fund, expressed delight with the group's investment in Celtel, its first and largest investment in Africa.

He said Africa Fund could now add to its legacy the achievement of a "truly superb exit" for its investors in a manner that provides an excellent return on the capital invested.

"Over the past five years, Celtel has earned a reputation for its sound corporate governance, solid operating performance and robust financial results. As such, it has attracted a respected telecommunications (MTC) of Kuwait to Africa" Gibian said in a statement.

The Celtel transaction, which exchanged hands at US$3.36 billion, marked a historic milestone for EMP in Africa.

As of March, the Africa Fund had committed US$351 million to 15 firms across Africa engaged in various sectors, including telecoms, agri-business, transport, energy, oil, gas and media.

Gibian said EMP Africa would continue to work on achieving successful returns for its investment, and it expects significant realisations would be achieved in 2005.

"EMP Africa's objective is to remain a leading player in private equity in Africa," he said.

Celtel operates cellular networks and one fixed line network in Sub Saharan Africa.

Gibian said since the Africa Fund's initial investment in the company in April 2000, Celtel had grown its subscriber base from 44,000 to over 6 million and was currently operating in 13 countries.

In 2004, Celtel recorded revenues of US$714 million and net profits of US$147 million.

This amounts to an increase of 58 per cent and 101 per cent respectively over the previous year.

The East African Standard