Luxembourg-based Millicom has sold its Tigo-branded mobile network in Sri Lanka to Etisalat for US$155 million in cash, ending months of speculation over the identity of an eventual acquirer. Previous names in the frame include Bharti, BSNL, VimpelCom, Axiata and NTT Docomo. In a statement, Millicom said the deal values the Sri Lankan operation at an enterprise value of US$207 million, which represents approximately 7.4x estimated 2009 EBITDA. The deal is expected to close by October 20. According to Wireless Intelligence, Tigo is Sri Lanka’s third-largest mobile operator and had 2.3 million connections by 2Q09.
“This agreement represents the final element of our recent divestment program and, upon completion of the previously announced transactions concerning our Cambodian and Laotian operations, will leave the Group well positioned to focus on the significant long-term growth opportunities in Latin America and Africa,” noted Millicom’s president and CEO, Mikael Grahne, in a statement. Last month it was confirmed that Russia’s VimpelCom had acquired its Laos mobile network for US$66 million. Millicom has 13 operations across Latin America and Africa, its chosen area of focus from now.