From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Celtel Sierra Leone buys Nigeria’s Vmobile
By Awareness Times
May 31, 2006, 20:35

Celtel International, a subsidiary of MTC, has concluded its acquisition of a controlling stake of 65% in Vmobile, one of Nigeria’s leading mobile telecommunications operators, at the cost of US$1.005. billion.

This transaction is the largest telecommunications deal in Nigeria and will expand Celtel’s presence to 15 countries on the African continent.

Vmobile offers extensive mobile coverage to more than 5 million customers throughout Nigeria. This transaction will give Vmobile access to Celtel’s operational expertise and all the associated benefits of being part of the MTCICeltel group. The transaction was structured as the purchase of existing shares and a US$ 250,000,000 equity injection which will immediately boost Vmobile’s financial ability to continue and accelerate its aggressive roll out.

Commenting on the transaction, Marten Pieters, CEO of Celtel International, said: "This agreement marks Celtel’s most important expansion in Africa to date. Nigeria is one of Africa’s biggest and fastest growing mobile telecommunications markets and we are delighted that we can bring our extensive expertise and resources to offer Nigerians the best possible quality of services. "

Tsega Gebreyes, Celtel’s Chief Strategy and Development Officer commented: "We are delighted that the negotiations with Vmobile’s shareholders have concluded this transaction and resulted in much needed investment in the company. Celtel looks forward to a strong partnership with Vmobile shareholders to build an even stronger business."

Mr Paul Usoro, Chairman of Vmobile’s investment committee, said: "We are delighted to have found a partner that shares both our vision and our passion for developing the mobile telephony market in Nigeria. This deal will help Vmobile to continue to expand its Nigerian footprint to ensure that the Company can offer Nigerians the highest quality infrastructure and world-class service that they deserve."

Celtel had announced that it had made a conditional offer for Vmobile on 16 April 2006. The conditional agreement was subject to a number of conditions. Econet Wireless Limited failed in the English Courts to halt completion but continues to challenge the transaction. Celtel has no reason to believe any court or arbitrator would find differently from the English Courts.

Celtel and MTC now provide mobile telecommunications services to more than 15 million customers in 15 countries in Africa.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.