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Celtel buys 65% stake in Vmobile for $1 Billion

Posted by Luminus on April 20, 2006

Nigerian Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) operator, Vmobile, may again change its name as it concludes a conditional agreement with Celtel International for Celtel to take a majority stake in the company.

Putting paid to weeks of speculations, Vmobile, in a statement endorsed by its Public Relations Manager, Mr. Emeka Opara, and released to the press in Lagos on Sunday, said the agreement, sealed on Sunday, gives a 65 per cent stake in the company to Celtel for a total consideration of around $1.005 billion (about N148 billion).

“The remaining shareholders have an option to sell their shares to Celtel at a similar valuation at a later date,” the statement said.

Major shareholders of Vmobile are Delta, Lagos and Akwa Ibom State Governments. Other shareholders are Bromley Assets Limited, Oba Otudeko, Ocean and Oil, Broad Communications and Leadway Assurance.

A pioneer mobile operator, Vmobile’s search for investment funds nearly ruined the ambition, leading to a cocktail of court cases even as it transited from Econet to Vmobile.

But lately, its fortunes have been on the rise. The company secured a hefty loan from local and international banks while pursuing an aggressive rollout programme code-named Project ROSE.

With the Nigerian mobile market exploding in terms of numbers, Celtel is one of the many companies that have made desperate attempts to partake of the pile, and is already a premier pan African mobile operator with more than nine million customers.

Celtel International is the African subsidiary of Kuwaiti telecoms giant, MTC. MTC is expected to pay the deal fee within the stipulated number of days believed to be 35 from the day the deal is struck.

Celtel’s earlier forays into Nigeria in 1998 when it was MSI Cellular Investments were unsuccessful as inconsistent policies and continuously interrupted licensing process ensured the operator could not launch operation in Nigeria

The name changed to Celtel in May 2005, when it was acquired by MTC of Kuwait for $3.4 billion. The MTC Group is a leading provider of mobile telecommunications services in the Middle East and is listed on the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange.

MTC via Celtel has been doing quite a number of buy-in in recent times one of which is the increase in its stake in Mobitel of Sudan from 39 per cent to 100 per cent.

Celtel is one of the best-known branded businesses in sub-Saharan Africa with mobile licences covering approximately one third of Africa’s population, some 270 million people.

Celtel operates mobile cellular operations in 14 countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar; Malawi, Niger, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Vmobile Nigeria is a telecommunications company providing GSM services in Nigeria. Incorporated in 2000, the company on August 5, 2001 became the first GSM company to launch its services in Nigeria.

It currently has five million active subscribers with coverage in over 600 towns and 8000 communities across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

This smells like the beginning of a new competition with, of course, the subscribers being the major beneficiaries.

Yay! for 0802. In case you were wondering I’ve been a Vmobile subscriber since way back when they were called Econet and I can only see more reason not to switch.

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2 Responses to “Celtel buys 65% stake in Vmobile for $1 Billion”


    MY NUMBER IS 0802-4996017.

  2. tunde said

    keep trying something about other jobs.God will surely give it to yopu

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