Lebanon-based Africell Holding, which owns mobile networks in Sierra Leone, Gambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, is aiming to attract US private equity firms to buy a stake in the group, valued by its founder Ziad Dalloul at up to USD1.5 billion, reports the Wall Street Journal. The report names potential investors as Providence Equity Partners, KKR & Co and Carlyle Group, while Mr Dalloul indicated in an interview that Providence is ‘particularly interested.’ Earlier this year Providence bought a stake in Helios Towers Africa, which operates telecoms towers across several countries, representing its ‘first African investment’, the report notes, adding that KKR also made its first African investment this year. Carlyle, with a USD698 million African fund, this week agreed to buy stakes in Nigeria’s Diamond Bank and South Africa’s Tiger Automotive.
Earlier this year Africell (registered as Lintel Holding) expanded through the purchase of Orange Uganda, and it plans to add operations in two more countries in the next three years. With Africell’s annual group revenue standing at over USD200 million, Dalloul forecasts a 60% increase in turnover next year, while predicting EBITDA of USD67 million this year, rising to USD125 million in 2015. The company could launch an initial public offering (IPO) in 2017, he hinted.