Friday, January 11, 2008

India - Essar buys into Econet

Essar’s Telecom Business in Strategic Tie-up with Econet Wireless

Essar Communications Holdings Limited (ECHL), the telecom subsidiary of the Essar Global Limited, has acquired a 49% stake in Econet Wireless International Limited (EWI) by subscribing to fresh capital in the company. This strategic alliance will significantly benefit Econet Wireless Kenya (EWK), which is 70% owned by EWI, from a rollout as well as product offering perspective. Essar will actively participate with EWI in the network rollout of EWK.

Commenting on the new partnership, Don Rae, CEO, ECHL said: "I am delighted that Essar and EWI have entered into this strategic tie up, which will benefit both parties. We look forward to leveraging our deep understanding and experience of the mobile telecommunications industry and working with EWI as the company enters its next phase of network rollout in the Kenyan telecommunications market. Together we expect to bring to Kenyan consumers an entirely new experience in mobile telephony”.

EWI owns 70% of EWK with the balance held by local investors. Essar’s stake in EWI will not alter the shareholding structure of EWK. Essar has wide experience in financing telecom ventures, rolling out networks and marketing of telecom services. This experience will benefit EWI’s telecom business in Kenya.

“Through this alliance EWI is hoping to establish across African markets the successful business models which have emerged in countries such as Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia and India. These were built around aggressive network rollouts and competitive pricing, resulting in high mobile penetration. We’re excited about our partnership with Essar and the possibilities which it opens up as we look into the future” said Mr. Zachary Wazara, Executive Director of the Econet Wireless Group.

About Essar - Essar Global Limited is a diversified group straddling the manufacturing and service sectors of Steel, Energy, Power, Communications, Shipping & Logistics, and Construction. Through its six holding companies, Essar Global has an estimated enterprise value of over USD 20 billion and employs 20,000 people worldwide.

With a firm foothold in India, Essar Global is focused on global expansion with projects and investments in Canada, USA, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and South East Asia. Visit website

About Econet - Econet Wireless is an experienced South Africa-based diversified telecommunications Group with operations and offices in more than nine countries in Africa, Europe and the East Asia Pacific Rim. The Group offers products and services in the core areas of mobile and fixed telephony services, internet and satellite.

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