Orange acquires Airtel in Sierra Leone

Orange acquires Airtel in Sierra LeoneFollowing the recent launch of operations in Liberia and Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone becomes the 21st country in Africa and the Middle East to join the Orange group. (Image Source: nchenga/Flickr)Orange has announced that, together with its Senegal-based partner Sonatel, it has completed the acquisition of 100 per cent of the mobile operator Airtel in Sierra Leone

In January, Bharti Airtel had announced that it will sell its operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone to France-based Orange for around US$900mn.

“We wish to inform that Orange has completed the acquisition of 100 per cent of the operations of Airtel in Sierra Leone via its subsidiaries, having already closed the transaction for Burkina Faso,” Airtel said in a media statement. The company added that proceeds from both transactions have been applied to pay down debt.

Orange described Airtel as Sierra Leone's leading mobile operator with more than 1.3mn customers (on the basis of active customers within a 30-day period) for a total population of 6.3mn people, in its announcement release.

With a mobile penetration of around 50 per cent of the population, Sierra Leone offers considerable growth potential, particularly at a time when significant investments are underway to extend the operator's 3G network. This network, which already offers good coverage in Freetown and other major towns in Sierra Leone, is set to provide Internet access to customers living outside major urban areas, Orange said.

The company added that investments planned in the coming years will enable customers in Sierra Leone to benefit from the support of the Sonatel group and take advantage of the Orange group’s expertise and momentum in terms of innovation and development of the digital ecosystem.

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