Orange Group, the majority owner of Telkom Kenya, has confirmed speculation that it is evaluating its options regarding Telkom Kenya, the country’s smallest mobile operator by subscribers. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the French group has hired asset management firm Lazard to find a buyer for Orange Uganda; it is now apparent that Telkom Kenya has also been included in the mandate. Orange Group press officer Tom Wright told Business Daily: ‘The group has recently started a strategic review with regards to our activities in Uganda and Kenya. One option would be to find new partners in these countries to ensure that the necessary financial and operating resources are available to maintain investment and support the continued development of operations.’
The announcement of a review of the company’s Kenyan operations came less than a week after Kenya’s third-largest mobile operator, Essar Telecom Kenya (yu), sought approval from the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) to sell its infrastructure and subscribers to rivals Safaricom and Airtel, respectively – effectively leaving Telkom stranded at the bottom of the market.
TeleGeography notes that Orange’s plan to exit African markets where it is not the largest or second largest provider is a strategy that it has already implemented across its European footprint. Further, the plan may yet impact on another struggling unit, Orange DRC. Acquired in October 2011 from Chinese equipment vendor ZTE and the Congolese government, the company is currently the fifth-largest operator in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with a meagre 7.3% market share.