On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- South Africa's Sentech says it needs government to finance a R300 million upgrade so that it can offer enhanced digital TV-type services.

- Pan-African mobile group Celtel International has reported a net profit of USD147 million for the full year 2004, up from USD73 million a year earlier. Revenues for the group were up by 62% to USD614 million, thanks in the main to strong growth at its Kenyan unit, while EBITDA rose by 59% to USD200 million and the EBITDA margin declined from 33.3% to 32.6%. The operator invested over USD250 million in infrastructure during the year, up by 140% on the figure for 2003.

- Orascom Telecom has increased its stakes in its Tunisian and Algerian mobile subsidiaries by 22.03% and 23.07% respectively. The purchases doubles the Egyptian holding company’s stake in Orascom Telecom Tunisia (Tunisiana) and leaves it with a 85.21% share in Orascom Telecom Algeria (Djezzy GSM).

- Morocco’s Maroc Télécom has announced that its net income rose 2.5% in 2004 to MAD5.2 billion (USD620.44 million), largely because of good growth in its wireless division. The company said it forecasts growth in its revenues and operating income for this year of 5% to 7%.

- State-owned telco the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) will be privatised in 2006, according to its CEO Vincent Seretse. He reported recently that international consultants McKinsey are carrying out a diagnostic study on BTC with the aim of drawing up a list of recommendations for the sell-off and post-privatisation strategy in the form of a five-to-ten year ‘roadmap’. Seretse added that the move will go hand-in-hand with further market liberalisation in Botswana. BTC currently holds a monopoly on fixed line voice telephony; data and ISP services were liberalised in 1996.