Portugal Telecom searches for new acquisition targets in sub-Saharan Africa

27 July 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 27 July – Portugal Telecom (PT) is looking for new acquisition targets in sub-Saharan Africa, after having this week acquired a third of the capital of Namibian mobile operator, the international manager of the Portuguese operator said.

João Pedro Baptista, in an interview with financial news agency Bloomberg, said Wednesday that Angola and Mozambique in particular were markets that had “great growth potential,” especially as they now had a stable political and social situation.

Portugal Telecom’s operation in these two countries, together with Botswana, have been “very successful,” amongst the seven that the Portuguese operator has in Africa, Baptista said.

Last year, PT’s operations in Africa, which include mobile and fixed line networks, yellow pages and pay-TV services, increased their number of subscribers by 5 million and generated revenue of some 840 million euros.

PT is set to buy a 34 percent stake in Namibian mobile phone operator MTC for 1.02 billion Namibian dollars (113.9 million euros), the Namibian company said Tuesday.

In March PT won the privatization tender for MTC, which was competed for by another four companies, including MTN, Africa’s largest listed mobile carrier, and the agreement was made official on Tuesday.

Now, according to Baptista, the operator is “looking for opportunities from South Africa up to the River Niger in countries that are socially and politically stable,” with the aim of increasing PT’s presence in the African market.

PT’s main operation in Africa is currently Angolan mobile operator Unitel.

Portuguese press reports have said that Unitel’s shareholders want PT to sell its 25 percent stake to them.

The two companies are currently involved in consortia, led by PT, with the aim of expanding into regional markets, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (macauhub)