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Essar sells Kenya telecom business for USD 120 million

Posted on Aug 30 2014 | IANS

Nairobi, Aug 30 : Essar Capital Saturday announced the signing of binding agreements with Safaricom and Airtel for the sale of its telecom business in Kenya for USD 120 million.

The firm, through its portfolio company Essar Telecom Kenya Limited (ETKL), operates the popular yuMobile telecom service in Kenya.

"We would like to reassure our customers that they will continue enjoying our products and services uninterrupted. We have structured the transaction such that our customers will not need to change their mobile numbers or SIM cards, post this transaction," said Madhur Taneja, chief executive, yuMobile.

"Moreover, we expect that the intended transaction will bring bigger benefits through an expanded product bouquet to the customers."

According to the company, the sales' transaction has received approval from the communication authority (CA) in Kenya.

The divestment will see Safaricom take over ETKL's network, IT (information technology) and office infrastructure while Airtel will acquire the company's subscribers.

Essar Capital further said that it expects the transaction to conclude during the fourth quarter of 2014.

The company added that the divestment of ETKL represents Essar Global Funds' second significant portfolio exit in the last few months, following the sale in July of its US-based outsourcing company, Aegis US, to Teleperformance for USUSD 610 million.

The sale of its Kenyan operation for about US USD 120 million, marks the exit of Essar from the telecom business, returning it nearly five times the return on investment of about USD 1.2 billion dollars.

Completion of monetisation of telecom business at about USD 6 billion follows part sale of Aegis for over USD 600 million, on an investment of less than USD 50 million in its IT venture.

Early spotting of opportunities, scaling rapidly and monetising investment at an opportune time is the success mantra of the group for ensuring good returns to stakeholders.

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