Senegal’s incumbent national PTO Sonatel (Orange) has reported that its net income for the six months ended 30 June 2014 climbed by 6.6% year-on-year to XOF97.67 billion (USD201.42 million). In a statement released to the West African regional bourse on Monday, the telco reported first-half revenue of XOF398.47 billion, compared to XOF356.82 billion in the corresponding period of 2013.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in April this year the Minister of Communications and the Digital Economy, Cheikh Bamba Dieye, was quoted as saying that the government of Senegal has taken every step necessary to retake full control of Sonatel when the operating licence held by the carrier ends in 2017. As it stands, Sonatel is owned by Orange Group (42.30%) and the government of Senegal (27.15%). The remaining 30.55% is in the hands of employees and private individuals. Following an amendment of the shareholders’ agreement between Orange Group and the Senegalese government, Sonatel was fully consolidated in the French telco’s results from 1 July 2005.
However, the government is seeking to change that, with the minister noting: ‘We are fully aware of what Orange Group offers in terms of modernisation, as they are in a large group … But every element must be [put in place so that] Sonatel remains a Senegalese company … which is why any economic growth at Sonatel is immediately listed in our national economy.’ Hence the government is committed to preserve what it terms the ‘territorial anchoring’ of Sonatel and its control by the state. Despite the bullish statement, it has not been ruled out that the government will renew Orange Group’s concession, and indeed on 16 April this year its CEO Stephane Richard held talks with the president, Macky Sall, to confirm the French telco’s commitment to Senegal.