On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Egyptian holding company Orascom Telecom has said it will invest USD300 million in 2005 to boost the network capacity of Algerian subsidiary Djezzy GSM. Since winning a GSM licence in 2001 Orascom has spent USD1.7 billion in Algeria, garnering some four million customers. It is targeting six million users by the end of 2005 and expects Algeria’s wireless subscriber base to reach over twelve million by 2010.

- Industry experts have estimated the value of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) at USD2billion ( about N280 billion). They also say that the June (2005) date fixed by government for the sale of the parastatal is unrealistic. According to the experts, that with proper corporate governance, whoever buys NITEL is likely to benefit immensely, in the short, medium and long terms. A report prepared by a group of international and local telecom consultants for one of the firms bidding to buy NITEL reveals that buying the public enterprise is a good investment. Twenty-one foreign investors had expressed interest to buy the 51 per cent equity of the Federal Government in NITEL when the deadline for expression of interest expired on January 28 (2005). The bidders include ZTE of China, Haauwie of China, Telkom/Vodacom of South Africa, Orascom of Egypt, Westel and MTN Nigeria as well as Singapore Telecom.