Orascom’s Telecel Globe buys Cell One

14 Jan 2009

Telecel Globe, a subsidiary of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, has bought Namibian 2G/3G cellco Powercom (trading as Cell One) for around USD59 million. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Cell One launched a GSM-900/1800 network in March 2007 before expanding coverage to all 13 regions of the country, and it switched on a W-CDMA-based 3G network in June 2008, with coverage limited to parts of the capital, Windhoek. The company, which competes with larger rival MTC, was formerly owned by Telecom Management Partner Holdings (itself owned by Norway’s Telenor, 39%), NamPower (37%), Zeven Investment Corporation (formerly Namibia Mineworkers’ Investment Holdings, 12%), domestic finance house Old Mutual (10%) and Powercom Educational Development Trust (2%). Telecel Globe’s CEO Kai Uebach said of the acquisition, ‘Cell One is well positioned in the Namibian market to become the key provider of competitive mobile voice and data services. Telecel Globe expects the investment in Cell One to have a positive effect on the brand, the customers and Namibia as a whole. This investment will further strengthen the traditionally good relationship and mutual trust between Namibia and Egypt. This acquisition will further enable Cell One to grow its customer base and deliver both essential services and groundbreaking communication solutions for the Namibian market.’ USD32 million of the cash asking price has already been paid, with the balance due in January 2010. Furthermore, debt assumed as part of the transaction is non-recourse on Telecel Globe. Cell One reportedly has a current active subscriber base of 198,000.