CELTEL READIES ITSELF FOR GBP1.1 BILLION UK FLOAT

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

African mobile phone group CelTel is planning to float on the London Stock Exchange early next year with an expected value of GBP1.1 billion. The company operates in 13 African countries and the continent is seen as a source of substantial growth for the mobile phone industry in the years to come.

Celtel is chaired Mohammed Ibrahim, a former Technical director of BT Cellnet which was spun off by BT to create O2. Ibrahim's family controls about 25% of CelTel. Other big investors include Standard Bank in London, ING, the Dutch investment bank and Citigroup.

The company's Dutch links are strong and it is headquartered in the Netherlands. It is understood to have appointed Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to have handled the float,

However news of its intention to seek a stock market listing could flush out potential trade buyers. Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile phone operator has built its position through a series of acquisitions. It could be interested in buying CelTel as a way of boosting its African presence.

The Independent, London