France Telecom-Orange (FT-Orange), which took over wireless operator Congo Chine Telecom (CCT) in late-2011, has confirmed that it is actively preparing its re-launch the cellco under its preferred Orange brand name imminently. Marc Rennard, FT-Orange’s senior executive vice president for Africa, the Middle East and Asia, was in the DRC last week to stage a joint press conference with Jean-Leon Bonnechere, CEO of CCT; the latter suggested that prior to its takeover the business did not meet international standards, leading to a comprehensive overhaul. Rennard told Agence Ecofin: ‘CCT was formerly operated by the Chinese, with exclusively Chinese management. As soon as we got the business, we defined the [parameters of the] project immediately and urged transformations. We have a strong desire to [give] operational responsibilities to local management. [We want] to become the preferred operator of the people we serve. We strive to [improve] social and economic development of the territories, which is essential for the sustainability of our business’.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in October 2011 FT-Orange finalised agreements with Congo Chine Telecom’s (CCT’s) then-owners, Chinese equipment vendor ZTE and the Congolese government, to acquire 100% of the cellco’s equity. The French telecoms giant agreed to pay USD10 million for the 51% share owned by ZTE, and USD7 million for the remaining 49%. As a result of CCT’s high level of debt, the total enterprise value for the purchase was stated at USD196 million by FT-Orange.
Elsewhere on the continent, FT-Orange has confirmed that it has replaced its existing chief executive officers in five African countries as part of its ‘international mobility policy’. Companies affected by the changes are Orange Niger, Orange Mali, Orange Madagascar, Orange Mauritius and Sonitel in Senegal.