According to Bloomberg Business Week, Telecel Globe which encompasses Vimpelcom’s mobile units in sub-Saharan Africa, generated revenues of USD90.73 million during the twelve months ended 31 December 2012, down from USD93.68 million one year earlier. The slight drop has been blamed on the devaluation of local currencies in Burundi and the Central African Republic against the US dollar. EBITDA for 2012 jumped from USD7.78 million to USD33.31 million on the back of ‘cost optimisation initiatives’, while CAPEX was reduced from USD25.0 million in 2011 to USD18.4 million year-on-year.
Last week Vimpelcom Group reported that Telecel Globe’s consolidated subscriber base increased 42% y-o-y to 4.464 million, with Telecel Zimbabwe’s user numbers increasing 70% on an annualised basis, to 2.582 million. Telecel-RCA claimed 442,000 subscribers as at 31 December, while U-Com Burundi notched up 1.440 million customers at end-2012. Vimpelcom noted that ‘despite the political situation and armed rebellion that erupted in CAR during December 2012, the network continues to function normally’. 4Q12 also saw the launch of mobile financial services, branded ‘Leo Manoti’, in Burundi.
In October 2012 TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database reported that Vimpelcom had enlisted British financial services company Standard Chartered to assist in finding a buyer for the three Telecel Globe operations, which were collectively valued at around USD60 million. Interest was largely thought to have been confined to established telecoms groups currently lacking a presence in those countries, prompting suggestions that South African-based pan-African operators MTN Group and Vodacom Group are the likely front-runners.