The projected sale of Comium in Cote d’Ivoire is progressing well, despite the withdrawal of India’s Bharti Airtel from the running, TMT Finance reports. Companies interested in the stricken operator are said to include Globacom of Nigeria, which already holds an international carrier licence in Cote d’Ivoire and Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular (MIC) as well as a consortium of local businessmen. However, Vietnam’s military-backed Viettel Group is also said to be interested in Comium, and has enlisted New York-based asset management firm Lazard to advise it on the acquisition. Any deal for the cash-strapped mobile unit is expected to include debts of around CFA60 billion (USD120.9 million).
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Viettel’s overseas expansion strategy is focused on Africa, and the company owns a number of operators and licences across the continent, including: Movitel of Mozambique, Viettel Cameroon and a 65% stake in Tanzanian mobile start-up Epocha & Golden Ocean Tanzania (trading as EGOTEL). Meanwhile, Viettel has also expressed an interest in acquiring licences in countries such as Kenya, Burkina Faso and Swaziland.