Telkom acquires full control of Multi-Links

South African fixed-line telephone operator Telkom’s expansion of its footprint on the African continent took another step forward on Thursday with the acquisition of the remaining 25% of Multi-Links, a Nigerian private telecommunications operator.

In May 2007 Telkom acquired 75% of Multi-Links.

Multi-Links has a Universal Access Licence that allows it to provide fixed, mobile, fixed-wireless, international and data services in one of the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in Africa. It also owns an ISP licence.

Multi-Links is Nigeria’s pioneer national private telecommunications operator (PTO) and was the first telecommunications operator in Nigeria to introduce Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, a digital fixed- mobile technology that enables the provision of more efficient and cost- effective wireless solutions.

“Our 100% ownership of Multi-Links, therefore, not only meets Telkom’s broader investment criteria but also provides us with the opportunity to expand our mobile capability,” said Telkom CEO, Reuben September.

Multi-Links’s mobile subscriber growth since its 75% acquisition by Telkom nearly two years ago has been impressive. Since September 2007, the company has grown its customer base from 262 431 to more than 1,7-million subscribers as at September 30 2008. At the same time, Multi-links has effected network and capacity improvements that will bolster its ability to provide quality data products, especially to the corporate market.

September added that the transaction advances Telkom’s goal of becoming Africa’s leading ICT solutions provider.

“We remain focused on pursuing growth by diversifying our revenue streams into African markets with high growth potential,” stated September.

“With its low penetration and pent-up demand for voice and data services, Nigeria is such a market and we have seen Multi-Links make significant progress over the past year. The prospects for the company are strong, and by capitalising on Telkom’s access to international data connectivity and the quality of such connectivity, Multi-Links is well positioned to service corporate, wholesale and retail customers in Nigeria,” said September.

He added that the Multi-Links deal demonstrates Telkom’s determination to expand domestically as well as beyond South Africa’s borders into areas of growth, healthy returns and value creation for the company’s shareholders.

“We are investing in and enhancing our long-term future by accelerating our drive towards becoming the preferred telecommunications provider and partner in Africa, as Telkom’s expertise allows us to provide the full spectrum of ICT solutions on the continent including voice, mobile, data, video and internet services,” stated September.

The value of the 25% purchase from Kenston Investment is $130-million, the price having being determined by an independent expert. All conditions precedent have been met. — I-Net Bridge

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