Telecoms company Vodafone set to sell its stake in Ghana operations to Telecel

GHANA – Telecommunications company Vodafone Plc, is set to sell its 70 per cent stake in Ghana to Africa-focused telecom company, Telecel Group, subject to regulatory approval by the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Communications.

This is part of the British telecommunications giant to refocus on key markets.

Vodafone entered Ghana in 2008 when it acquired 70% stake of Ghana Telecommunications Company for US$900 million.

Telecel plans to help fund the acquisition by later offloading the Ghana business’s mobile towers, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Nick Read, Vodafone’s Chief Executive Officer, has been focusing the group on Europe and Africa as he streamlines a sprawling operation that once extended from its Newbury, England headquarters all the way to New Zealand.

In Africa, Vodafone has been steadily consolidating interests under its sub-Saharan subsidiary Vodacom Group Ltd., of which it owns 60.5%.

Vodafone explored a sale of its Ghanaian business to Vodacom in early 2021 and, while that deal did not materialise, transferred a 55% holding in its Egyptian operations to the group later in the year.

Founded in 1986, Telecel operates in more than 30 countries and employs over 700 staff, according to its website.

The company has a history of growth through acquisitions, having struck deals in Gibraltar, Liberia and Mauritania in recent years.

The Telecel Group operates in four different business lines within the telecom and technology industry. These include Telecel Mobile, which owns and operates several mobile operators in Africa and Europe.

Telecel Global Services provides wholesale, enterprise, and digital security services to telecom operators and enterprises worldwide, while Telecel Play is a digital platform that is digitizing mobile users’ experience.

In April 2020, the management of Vodafone Ghana was taken over by Vodacom as part of a plan to simplify Vodafone’s operating structure.

Vodafone Ghana however kept its branding and there was no transfer of assets from the UK parent, which owns about 65% of Vodacom.

Vodacom is also planning to buy a 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt for US$2.7 billion. The Egypt deal received an overwhelming yes from shareholders in January 2022 but is still awaiting regulatory approval.

Last November, Vodafone sold a 55% stake in its Egypt unit to South Africa’s largest mobile operator by subscribers Vodacom Group for US$2.74 billion.

The deals marked Vodacom’s first expansion into North Africa. In a statement, Vodafone said around 80% of the deal would be settled through issuing 242 million new ordinary shares in Vodacom, while the remaining 20 would be settled in cash.

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