Belgacom looking to buy Vodafone out of mobile venture

13 Apr 2006

Belgian incumbent Belgacom is looking to buy out Vodafone Group’s stake in its mobile phone subsidiary Belgacom Mobile, CEO Didier Bellens told Dow Jones Newswires. Belgacom shares have jumped in recent weeks on the prospect of a buy out of Vodafone’s 25% stake in Belgacom Mobile, which offers services under the brand name Proximus. ‘If they are very serious (in selling), it will be a very short discussion,’ Bellens said after the company’s AGM this week. Belgacom Mobile is the country’s largest mobile operator by far, with a 46% share of the 9.2 million subscribers in the country at the end of 2005.

Belgacom is also seeking acquisitions outside the saturated markets of Western and Eastern Europe, and is scouring Central Asia, India, Africa and the Balkans for targets. The company is in preliminary talks with the Serbian government over its sale of state-owned telecom Mobi 063 (formerly Mobtel), though Telekom Austria is favourite to win the cellco.

Belgium, Proximus, Vodafone Group