Etisalat agreed to sell its operations in French-speaking West Africa to Maroc Telecom, the Moroccan operator group in which it is currently in the process of acquiring a majority stake.
The share purchase agreement will see Etisalat sell Atlantique Telecom – its wholly-owned subsidiary which has operations in Benin, Central African Republic, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Niger and Togo – to Maroc Telecom. The businesses being sold provide voice and data services under the Moov brand.
The agreement also includes Prestige Telecom, an Ivory Coast-based company providing IT services to Etisalat’s operations in the region.
The total value of the agreement for all seven companies is $650 million.
The agreement is subject to a number of conditions, including the closing of Etisalat’s acquisition of the 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom currently held by French media group Vivendi. Competition and regulatory approvals in the six countries in which the operations are based are also needed.
The assets being sold add little to Etisalat’s bottom line but could benefit from the expertise of Maroc Telecom, which as well as Morocco, has had success with operations in Gabon, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
The purchase of the Maroc Telecom stake is progressing with Etisalat confirming at the end of April that it had secured €3.15 billion in financing to help fund the €4.2 billion deal.
Etisalat group CEO Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar recently said the company plans to continue to expand its “service offering and geographic footprint” to diversify its revenue base and “cement our regional leadership position”— with Africa remaining a strategic region.