France Telecom has taken control of Senegal based Sonatel after it brought 9.87% of the company from the Senegalese government, taking its ownership to 52.2%. Once the transaction has been completed, the Senegalese government will remain Sonatel’s second biggest shareholder with 17.28% of the operator's capital.
After various shareholder payments, the net cost to France Telecom will be EUR209 million (US$278.5 million).
France Telecom originally invested in the landline and mobile network operator in 1997. In addition to rebranding as Orange, the Group has expanded in Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. At the end of last year, the Group had 3.8 million customers in Senegal, and a further 3.4 million in surrounding countries.
On signing this agreement, Marc Rennard, France Telecom’s Executive Director of the AMEA region and Chairman of Sonatel, said: "Since 1997, France Telecom has been very happy to support Sonatel's success in Senegal and the surrounding region. The quality of Sonatel's teams combined with France Telecom's experience have made Sonatel one of the most important operators in West Africa, especially in terms of innovation and service quality, which continue to benefit the Group's customers across its footprint. This new stage in our partnership will strengthen the dynamic business performance that characterises the Sonatel Group”.