French telco Orange has continued its African shopping spree with the acquisition of Millicom subsidiary Tigo in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Earlier in the year Orange moved to strongly bolster its presence in West Africa with acquisitions in Liberia, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone. These mark the continuation of the broader African expansion strategy announced by Orange in the middle of last year.
The mobile market in the DRC is undergoing significant growth and is currently the largest mobile market in Central and West Africa after Nigeria with more than 40 million subscribers,” said the Orange statement. “Tigo DRC is a perfect fit for Orange given the complementarity of their operations both from a geographical and cultural standpoint.
“The sale of Tigo DRC is in line with our strategy of supporting consolidation and concentrating our resources in our most promising markets,” said Mauricio Ramos, CEO of Millicom. “Proceeds from the sale will strengthen our balance sheet allowing us to reinvest in our existing Latin American and African markets, improving earnings and cash flow and reducing leverage.”
The DRC is one of Africa’s largest countries, with a relatively developed mobile market containing over 40 million subscribers. Tigo currently has around a 14% share of the market, according to the Ovum WCIS service, which presumably will now be combined with Orange DRC’s growing share to give the consolidated operations a 28% share. That will place it equal first with Vodacom Congo and ahead of Africell and Airtel DRC.