Orange adds Airtel subsidiaries to acquisition tally


Telecom operator Orange will take over Airtel’s operation in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone and effectively expand its reach in West Africa. The latest development comes only a day after the French firm announced its acquisition of Cellcom in Liberia.

A statement from the company said, “Orange will acquire 100% of the two companies’ share capital. The consolidated revenue of the two companies is around 275 million Euros. These acquisitions will be implemented in partnership with Orange’s subsidiaries in the Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.”

The company also said their expansion strategy focuses on high growth markets, specifically those in which they do not have operations.

Through the deal Orange will bring to 20 the number of countries they operate in. The two Airtel acquisitions will mean an additional 5.5 million subscriptions.

Orange will base their transaction on the financials of the Aitel subsidiaries for the year ending 31 March, 2016.

“It will represent the equivalent of 7.9 times Airtel’s EBITDA in these two countries at this time. The completion of these transactions remains subject to approval by the competent authorities,” the company said.

As of September 2015 Sierra Leone’s mobile penetration stood at 44% in a population of 6.7 million and the country is home to three mobile networks including Africell, Comium Sierra Leone and Airtel.

Burkina Faso has a mobile penetration of 71% in a population of 18 million, also featuring three mobile operators: Onatel, Telecel Faso and Airtel.

Orange has experienced mixed fortunes on the continent. Last year Orange Telkom in Kenya sold its business to Helios Investment and cited slow growth in the country.

From an agreement signed in July 2015 between Airtel and Orange, Chad and Congo Brazzaville Airtel subsidiaries might also be up for acquisition in the future.