Madagascar’s Axian Group and Africa-focused private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) have struck a deal to acquire a majority 51% stake in Togo’s state telecommunications company, TogoCom, Reuters reports the government as saying on Thursday (7 November). It is understood the government of the tiny West African nation accepted the bid by the two companies’ Agou Holding consortium, marking the completion of a privatisation process announced in 2018. The deal leaves TogoCom – the holding company for fixed line operator Togo Telecom and mobile arm Togocel – with an enterprise value of over XOF210 billion (USD354.15 million).
Going forward, Agou Holding plans to invest USD271 million in TogoCom over the next seven years to improve international connectivity and expand its high speed fibre-optic and mobile networks, the government confirmed in a statement. ‘This major operation marks a crucial step in the government’s digital roadmap,’ said Cina Lawson, Minister of Post, the Digital Economy and Technological Innovation.
Looking into the pedigree of Agou Holding, Madagascar-based Axian owns Telma, a telecom firm operating in Madagascar, Comoros, Reunion Island and Mayotte, and is present in Senegal through Free Senegal (formerly Tigo). ECP, meanwhile, has previously invested in telcos including MTN Cote d’Ivoire, Orascom Telecom Algeria, Airtel, Wananchi and IHS Towers.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that in late 2018 Togo’s government launched efforts to secure a strategic partner for TogoCom (originally aiming to name a winner by March 2019), seeking an investor with the capabilities to rapidly develop TogoCom’s broadband internet systems, fixed and mobile, through the deployment of 4G and optical fibre networks ‘by 2020’. The government maintained at the time that this would allow the group ‘to consolidate its investment capacity and benefit from latest ICT, to develop new growth segments’. With the state-owned telco looking to take on the might of Maroc Telecom, which operates in Togo via local unit Moov, a spokesperson was quoted as saying: ‘For the government, this move will accelerate development and boost investments in telecommunications, hence providing a service of better quality and competitive prices, for the benefit of the people and businesses, while supporting the country’s development strategy.’