South African telecoms companies Vodacom Group and MTN Group are both said to have expressed an interest in expanding their presence to Madagascar via the acquisition of fixed line incumbent Telecom Malagasy (Telma). According to Bloomberg, which cites two people familiar with the matter, both Vodacom and MTN are eyeing Telma with a view to diversifying their respective sources of revenue. However, neither Vodacom nor MTN have made an official comment regarding claims of their interest in Telma, with the former simply quoted as saying: ‘We explore investment opportunities on a regular basis.’
The development follows previous reports by CommsUpdate in April 2013 that Telma had enlisted US investment bank Lazard to explore a number of sale options, including a complete disposal of its business and the divestment of its tower portfolio. At that date it was claimed that around 500 Telma Mobile cell towers had been made available, valued at between USD50 million and USD70 million. Further, it was claimed that discussions were already underway with a number of towercos. Telma itself is valued at around USD500 million.