Millicom completes sale of Zantel and Tigo Tanzania

Wednesday April 06 2022
Tigo pix
By Paul Owere

Millicom is now entirely a Latin American operator following the sale of its last African interest, Tigo Tanzania which was completed on April 5, 2022 at a price of $100 million (Sh230 billion).

The group said in a statement that has completed the transaction announced on April 19, 2021 for the sale of its entire operation in Tanzania to a consortium led by Axian, a pan-African group.

 Axian, a Madagascar group that was part of the consortium that acquired Millicom’s operations in Senegal in 2018.

“In accordance with the terms of the sale, Axian has assumed ownership of the business, including its debt and other obligations, and Millicom has received net cash consideration of approximately $100 million,” reads the statement.

The transaction completes Millicom’s multi-year plan to divest its African operations and associated obligations and liabilities and to focus on its Latin America markets.

Millicom now has operations in Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay, offering mobile, broadband and pay-TV services.

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Speaking after the announcement Millicom CEO, Mauricio Ramos said the announcement means they have completed the divestiture of their African businesses, in the process closing a chapter in their history and opening another that is solely focused on the Latin American region.

 “Today Tigo is a leading provider of broadband services to consumers, businesses and governments in Latin America, where penetration and data speeds remain low by the standards of more mature markets. Through our investment-led strategy, we are bringing reliable high-speed mobile and fixed broadband to the communities we serve in the region,” he said.

Axian’s CEO Hassanein Hiridjee commented: “Thanks to this agreement with Millicom, Axian is starting a new chapter in Tanzania and in Zanzibar for the long term. We are convinced that the Axian model will accelerate the digital inclusion and open access to innovative services for the clients while supporting economic growth. We are very excited by this new challenge.”

The deal includes strategic ownership in the EASSy cable landing station in Dar ss Salaam and a consortium network with over 3,200km of backbone and over 600km of metro fibre.

The Axian-led alliance said it plans “to significantly increase the coverage of Tigo Tanzania and Zantel, especially for 4G network” and to “extend access to affordable mobile services and accelerate digitalisation in the territory”.

Axian said Millicom Tanzania’s mobile financial services is the second largest nationwide and third largest platform globally with 6.6 million users, connecting with 49 banks in Tanzania.

The Luxembourg-headquartered group had gradually disposed of all its African interests over the past few years. Last October it agreed to sell its Ghanaian operation, a joint venture with India’s Bharti Airtel, to the government for just under US$25 million.

In 2016 Orange bought Millicom’s unit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for $160 million. The following year Airtel itself bought Millicom’s Rwanda unit.

Millicom, which has historical connections with Swedish institutional investors such as Kinnevik, said today that it will take a $25 million charge as a result of the agreement to dispose of its Ghanaian interests.