This little Guinea went to market: Angolans eye Guine Telecom

18 Mar 2015

Angolan mobile operator Unitel is reportedly poised to launch a bid for Guinea-Bissau’s national PTO Companhia de Telecomunicacoes da Guine-Bissau (Guine Telecom), when the Bissau government publishes its tender documents for the sale of the telco and its mobile arm Guinetel. According to an unconfirmed report from Macauhub, which cites Eunice Lopes Esteves – chair of the management and company restructuring commission for the ‘bankrupt’ state-owned companies – Unitel has expressed an interest in acquiring the fixed line operator. In a conference this week on telecoms developments in the country, Esteves’ team is understood to have canvassed interest from companies from Ghana, China, South Africa and Romania, as well as law firms representing other ‘interested parties’. Esteves said: ‘In 2011 there was specific interest from Unitel, and we made some contacts,’ adding that the Angolan operator is currently awaiting clarification of the international tender process being used to sell the companies.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that, as it stands, Guine Telecom is 100% owned by the government following the announcement in October 2010 that Portugal Telecom (PT) and its Portugal Telecom Internacional (PTI) unit had finally relinquished any hold on the company. The Ministry of Economy confirmed that PT had abandoned its call on equity representing 40% of Guine Telecom’s share capital. PT also previously held a minority stake with management rights in Guine Telecom’s potential suitor, Unitel, although this was transferred in May 2014 to Brazilian telecoms group Oi, which has earmarked the stake for sale, with likely buyers including Unitel’s indirect part-owner, billionaire businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Guinea-Bissau, Companhia de Telecomunicacoes da Guine-Bissau, Guinetel, Unitel (Angola)