Orange offloads Kenya unit to Helios

Orange concluded the long-anticipated sale of its unit in Kenya after agreeing to sell its entire 70 per cent stake in Telkom Kenya to Helios Investment Partners.

The deal, details of which were not disclosed, is subject to approval from the relevant authorities.

Telkom Kenya is the country's incumbent fixed-line operator and third-largest mobile player with 4 million mobile customers at the end of June 2015.

The divestment comes a year after Orange concluded a deal to sell Orange Uganda, and is aligned with the company's policy is to sell units in countries where it believes it would be unable to become the number one or number two player over time.

In general, Orange has repeatedly emphasised that it sees the Middle East and Africa (MEA) as key to its future growth. The company has around 100 million subscribers in the region, which accounts for around 10 per cent of group revenue.

In September, the company appointed new CEOs for four of its businesses in MEA, placing an emphasis on executives with a strong track record in the telecoms industry. Then in October it unveiled sweeping changes to its top management structure with effect from March 2016, further underlining its strong focus on the MEA region.

In July Orange CFO Ramon Fernandez said the company is targeting annual revenue growth of around 5 per cent in MEA by 2018 and was looking for further opportunities to expand in the region.

Also in July, the company acquired a further nine per cent of Moroccan operator Méditel after signing an agreement with private equity firm Fipar-Holding -- part of state investment company CDG -- and investment fund FinanceCom for an undisclosed amount.

Prior to that deal, Orange entered into an exclusive agreement with India's Bharti Airtel to explore the possible acquisition by Orange of Airtel's mobile subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone. Airtel Africa operates in 17 markets across Africa in total.

For more:
- see the Orange release

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