Telecel Globe, which encompasses Vimpelcom’s mobile units in sub-Saharan Africa, is reportedly set to divest its operations in Burundi and the Central African Republic (CAR) to Luxembourg-based Niel Telecom. According to Jeune Afrique, it is understood that Niel Telecom will pay more than EUR75 million (USD97.3 million) for two mobile operators, those being Telecel-RCA and U-Com Burundi, the latter of which trades under the ‘leo’ banner.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in October 2012 it was claimed that Vimpelcom had enlisted British financial services company Standard Chartered to assist in finding a buyer for Telecel Globe’s subsidiaries. Interest was largely thought to have been confined to established telecoms groups currently lacking a presence in those countries, prompting suggestions that South African-based pan-African operators MTN Group and Vodacom Group were the likely front-runners. More recently, in publishing its financial results for the quarter ended 31 March 2013, Vimpelcom revealed that ‘Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) … has signed a share purchase agreement to sell its stake in Telecel Globe Limited, which owns operations in Burundi and the Central African Republic. The sale is subject to closing conditions’.