France Telecom denies talk of Kenya exit

France Telecom has denied it has threatened to quit Telkom Kenya, stating the country is a key part of its plan to double revenues in the region in the next five years.
In a statement issued yesterday, the carrier said it remains committed to the venture as part of its long-term investment strategy in Africa, and that talks with Kenya’s government were a natural part of the process of completing a major acquisition.
“France Telecom is fully satisfied with the work that has been undertaken in Kenya since it became the majority shareholder,” it said in the statement.
The telco said investment of almost €200 million in network development and maintenance was beginning to bear fruit, with 1Q10 results “above the budget” and demonstrating demonstrated “improved company performance.”
Telkom Kenya will play a key role in achieving CEO Stephane Richard’s goal of doubling revenues in the region over the next five years, it added, noting the carrier is an important asset in terms of establishing its presence in East Africa.
Reports earlier this week said the French telco was looking to exit Kenya due to an impossible competitive situation, which favoured incumbent mobile carrier Safaricom.
Those reports stated France Telecom had demanded the €385 million it paid for the controlling stake in Telkom Kenya back, along with a further €300 million it had spent on network development.