Monday 19 March 2018

Abraaj enters deal to buy Tunisie Telecom stake from EIT

Tunisia, December 13, 2017

The Abraaj Group, a leading investor operating in growth markets, announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase, through its funds, a significant minority stake in Société Nationale des Télécommunications (Tunisie Telecom) , Tunisia’s largest telecom operator. 
The stake will be acquired from Emirates International Telecommunications, Dubai Holdings’ telecoms arm.
Upon completion, this will represent the largest ever private equity investment in Tunisia demonstrating Abraaj’s faith in the company and in the Tunisian economy. 
The value of the deal has not been revealed. Earlier, Reuters had reported that Abraaj is buying a 35 per cent stake in Tunisie Telecom and EIT had bought the stake for $2.25 billion in 2006, according to its website.
Tunisie Telecom is the incumbent integrated telecom services operator in Tunisia and serves over five million customers. The company has state-of-the-art infrastructure, operating a national structure of fixed networks and fiber which enables connectivity to Europe, Africa and Asia, as well as providing the most extensive 3G and 4G mobile coverage in the country. The company holds a strong competitive position, as it is the leading player in fixed voice and fixed broadband in the Tunisian market. 
Tunisie Telecom is one of the most dynamic operators in the region through several acquisitions that have helped grow the company. Tunisie Telecom holds assets in Malta, Cyprus and Mauritania. In Malta, the company owns the leading incumbent operator Go Malta, which offers multi-play services such as landline, mobile and broadband. Through Go Malta, Tunisie Telecom is also the leading cable operator in Cyprus. 
Tunisia enjoys a 132 per cent mobile penetration rate and is witnessing growing demand for mobile data and fixed broadband. This was supported by the launch of three 4G licenses by the Tunisian Government in 2016 which spurred the growth of data consumption. According to the Tunisian regulatory agency, mobile data consumption increased by 30 per cent in August 2017 relative to the previous year. Fixed ADSL subscriptions have also increased 9 per cent over the same period. The Tunisian telecommunication market is expected to keep growing, as data usage continues to expand driven by increased smartphone penetration, over the top applications (OTT), e-commerce, the internet of things, Internet Protocol Television or 4k Television and the adoption of other technologies. 
Abraaj, in partnership with the management team of Tunisie Telecom and the Government of Tunisia, has developed a robust value creation strategy to grow the company as a pan-Mediterranean telecom leader. By leveraging Tunisie Telecom’s talent and network leadership, the Group will assist Tunisie Telecom in enhancing its customer service experience and the development of 4G and LTE technologies to capture growing market demand, said the statement.
Ahmed Badreldin, partner and head of Middle East & North Africa at The Abraaj Group, said: “This is a landmark transaction for Abraaj, as it marks our first investment into the telecommunications sector, as well as our 10th investment in Tunisia. The telecommunications industry in Tunisia is experiencing exponential growth driven by favorable government policies and a rapidly evolving economy. With these positive factors at play, we see immense potential for the sector to advance further. In Tunisie Telecom, we are partnering with a market leader in this dynamic sector. Driven by strong consumer demand, Tunisie Telecom is well positioned to capture greater market share and cement its leading position in Tunisia and beyond.”  
The transaction will close once customary closing conditions including government approvals are obtained.  - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Tunisia | Tunisie Telecom | Abraaj Group |

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