Luxembourg-based telecoms group Millicom International Cellular (MIC), which provides wireless and broadband services in LatAm and Africa under the Tigo brand, has increased its holdings in its online service and e-commerce partners Latin America Internet Holdings (LIH) and Africa Internet Holdings (AIH) following strong performance. The group took a 20% stake in the ventures in September 2012 and has now increased its holding to 35%, according to a company press release. MIC claims that by virtue of their status as a first entrant into many markets, the group’s e-commerce operators have significant advantages over newer rivals. Online retailer Jumia launched in Q2 2012 in Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt and has already secured ‘leading’ positions in those countries whilst delivering growth and profitability, it said. In Nigeria, Jumia was the top e-commerce website in 2012, MIC claimed.
Commenting on the decision, Millicom president and CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht said: ‘Sooner than we thought, our joint ventures in Africa and Latin America have achieved leading positions in key segments of the growing online market. The opportunities look even greater than when we first decided to invest in them. In Africa e-commerce could hasten the evolution of the established retail sector as consumers increasingly adopt the digital lifestyle. That is why such timely investment is of essence. We are pleased today to give our partners our reiterated financial and operational support to allow proper planning and execution.’