Essar bids for Warid Telecom

Essar Teleholdings, the telecom subsidiary of Mumbai group Essar Global, is in advanced stages of talks with Dhabi Group to acquire the latter’s African telecom companies, reports Uganda’s Daily Monitor. The deal is expected to close the deal in three months’ time. The Abu Dhabi group runs Warid Telecom in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uganda and Congo-Brazaville with launch plans underway for Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Essar is interested in the Uganda and Congo networks. It has a presence in Kenya (as Yu Telecom) and Uganda.

Believed to be a takeover, it might turn out to be a joint venture as an official communique dated August terms it as an “equity infusion” that will be “the basis of a partnership to create a significant presence in Africa”.

Essar is now aggressively expanding its network to add customers. It is learnt to be investing $230 million and expects to reach 2 million subscribers by March 2010. It currently has 600,000 mobile customers and has completed its network roll outs in Kenya. Its upcoming acquisition or partnership with the Dhabi Group companies is in line with the strategy to establish itself as a trusted brand in the African mobile sector in preparation for facing bigger competitors such as Zain Telecom, Uganda Telecom, France Telecom’s Orange Uganda and the Airtel-MTN behemoth which is in the making.