Ethiopia Seeks Expressions of Interest for 40% of State Telecom

Ethiopia called for expressions of interest for a minority stake in the state-controlled telecommunications company, starting the process of recruiting a second major investor into the country in less than a month.

Investors have a month, beginning June 15, to submit interest for 40% of Ethiopia Telecommunications Corp., Brook Taye, a senior advisor at the finance ministry, told reporters in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Requests for proposals will be issued thereafter, Brook said.

The sale in Ethio Telecom, as the company is known, comes on the heels of a new telecommunications license awarded to a Safaricom Plc-led consortium last month. Opening up the sector is part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s plan to attract more foreign capital and maintain one of the fastest economic growth rates in Africa, and create more jobs.

Ethio Telecom generated revenue of 25.6 billion birr ($600 million) in the six months through December and has about 53 million subscribers. The government will retain 55% of the company, while 5% will be provided to Ethiopian investors probably through an initial public offering, according to Brook.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation with about 110 million people, is one of the largest remaining telecommunications markets and has for long been coveted by investors, including Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and MTN Group Ltd.

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