Essar Gets Majority Stakes in Dhabi Group's African Telecom Operations

  • Essar to invest in Warid Telecom Uganda & Warid Telecom Congo
  • Enterprise valuation of Uganda and Congo operations at USD 318 million
  • Deal reflects Dhabi Group’s vision to partner with other leaders in growing and adding value to their telecom investments
  • Deal reflects Essar’s plans to increase its presence in the Middle East and Africa region by forging partnerships with prominent business groups
  • Essar’s investment in Warid telecom in Africa is a part of its strategic plans to grow its businesses in Africa

The Dhabi Group and the Essar Group has announced the signing of definitive agreements for an investment by Essar Group into the telecom assets of the Dhabi Group in Uganda and Republic of Congo.

The agreements were signed by His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Mabarak Al Nahyan on behalf of the Dhabi Group and Mr Prashant Ruia, Group Chief Executive Essar Group in Abu Dhabi today (November 15th, 2009).

The Essar Group has committed growth capital to both telecom operations to facilitate network expansion and marketing. Upon completion, the Essar Group will acquire a majority stake in both the assets. The partnership is also expected to bring operational efficiencies to the African operations.

HH Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Chairman of Dhabi Group, said that: “We are pleased to join hands with a Group that both complements and extends our synergies to expand further into Africa.  Warid has expanded its greenfield operations to become credible competitors and challengers in the market where it operates; the time is now right for the next stage of its growth and evolution.”

Commenting on the occasion Mr Prashant Ruia, Group Chief Executive, Essar Group said, “Essar is delighted to partner with the Dhabi Group to expand Essar’s telecom operations in Uganda and Congo. This is in line with Essar’s plan to be a part of the growing telecom market in Africa. This transaction with the Dhabi Group augments our successful launch of telecom services in Kenya under the brand ‘yu’ which was a  stepping stone for Essar to expand its telecom footprint to the African continent.”

Essar’s investment in Warid Telecom in Africa is a part of its strategic plans to grow its business in Africa. This deal is a reflection of Essar’s plans to increase its presence in the Middle East and Africa regions as it explores business opportunities by forging partnerships with prominent business groups.

After the successful launch of mobile services in Kenya under the brand ‘yu’, Essar Telecom is now expanding its footprint in East Africa with Uganda and Republic of Congo operations. Regarded as one of the fastest growing telecom operators in Kenya, Essar Telecom Kenya has over 600,000 subscribers and expects this number to grow significantly as it completes its rollout across Kenya.

Essar Energy had recently announced the completion of the acquisition of a 50% stake in Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd (KPRL), with the Government of Kenya holding the remaining stake. KPRL is a 4 million metric tonne (MMTPA) per annum refinery in Kenya.

The Dhabi Group transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in Uganda and Republic of Congo. Standard Chartered Bank acted as exclusive financial advisor to the Dhabi Group.

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