France Telecom Group Orange has formalized the acquisition of Congo operator China Telecom (CTC) on Thursday, October 20, for about 143 million euros. The company was previously held by the Chinese company ZTE (51%) and the Congolese state (49%). With the presence of ZTE, France Telecom also benefits from an advantageous refinancing for the debt of CTC (about 120 million euros) by the China Development Bank.
In 2011, CTC, fourth operator in its market (15% of subscribers) behind Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel, is expected to achieve a turnover of 68 million euros. To observers, the agreement is nevertheless a good opportunity for France Telecom, whose ambition is to reach 7 billion euros of revenue in emerging markets by 2015. DRC, the fourth country on the continent by its population, is an important source of growth given the low penetration of mobile phones (17%) and the potential of its economy.
For its arrival in the DRC, France Telecom has also negotiated the extension of 2G license and licensing 3G (mobile internet) for a deal of $52 million, partly funded by CCT.