Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Essar Kenya Gets USD97.4 Boost from PAIDF

Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) has invested 7.5 billion Kenyan shillings(about 97.4 million U.S. dollars) in Essar Telecom Kenya (ETK), the country's fourth mobile phone operator to expand its East Africa operations.

    ETK said in a statement issued here Tuesday that it already has about 400,000 subscribers on its network in Nairobi and Mombasa and it expects this number to grow significantly as it completes it roll out across Kenya by end of the year.

    "We are delighted to have PAIDF, Africa's largest infrastructure equity fund, as an investor in our business. This also signifies the immense value that ETKL has managed to build in a short span of time," ETK CEO Srinivasa Iyengar said.

    "We are committed to build a quality network in Kenya with the objective to offer 'Best in Class' experience to our customers. We look forward to leveraging our understanding and experience of the telecommunications industry along with PAIDF's regional presence and intelligence as ETKL enters its next phase of network rollout in the Kenyan market."

    ETK recently acquired a controlling interest in Econet Wireless Kenya and subsequently renamed the company as Essar Telecom Kenya.

    Essar Telecom Kenya operates Kenya's fourth GSM telephony licensee in Kenya under the brand "Yu."

    TKL launched its services in October 2008 and is regarded as one of the most innovative and fast growing telecom operators in Kenya.

    "The Fund is excited about the telecom opportunity and to be partnering with the Essar Group. We are certain that the Essar Group will bring about a landscape change to the mobile telecoms market in the East African region that will extend beyond Kenya," Tshepo Mahloele, CEO, Harith, Fund Managers for PAIDF said.

    "The partnership between the Fund and Essar Group is in line with our strategy of partnering with companies and individuals looking to expand on infrastructure investment opportunities on the African continent."

    ETKL has launched its operations as Kenya's fourth mobile telecommunications operator under the Yu brand.

    Yu's market strategy has been primarily to target the youthful segment with the launch of attractive tariffs as well as innovative products and services.

    The mobile operator has been able to achieve 70 percent brand awareness since launch amongst its target audience. ETKL has been successfully operating under a low-cost model that has revolutionized the Kenyan mobile market and enabled it to significantly reduce the cost of mobile communications.

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