Millicom wins Ola stake

1 Sep 2006

Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular (MIC) will take control of Colombian wireless operator Ola after agreeing to pay USD125 million for the 50% plus one share stake. MIC’s bid was equal to the minimum price set by the firm’s 50/50 owners, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota (ETB) and public utility Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM). Pan-Caribbean mobile operator Digicel and Chile’s Entel, the only other pre-qualified bidders, both chose not to submit final offers.

Ola is the smallest mobile operator in Colombia and competes with the local units of America Movil and Telefonica. The cellco has posted losses every year since its creation in 2003. Last year, it reported a net loss of COP284 billion up from a loss of COP189 billion in 2004. MIC has promised to invest COP840 billion in Ola and has agreed to honour plans to float a portion of the company on the Colombian stock market no later than next year.