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Orange Withdraws From Deal to Buy 45% Stake in Ethiopia’s Ethio Telecom

French telecom giant, Orange, has officially announced its withdrawal from the bid to acquire a substantial 45% stake in Ethiopia’s leading operator, Ethio Telecom.

This decision comes after the French telecom operator had initially expressed interest in 2021 to partake in the partial privatization of Ethio Telecom, a telecom giant boasting over 70 million subscribers and holding a historical monopoly in the Ethiopian market.

“Orange confirms that it has decided to withdraw from the ongoing process regarding the sale of 45% of Ethio Telecom,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.

On its part, Ethio Telecom added, “After analysis, the Group believes that the conditions do not allow for the rapid deployment of our strategy and the completion of a project that would create value for the company.”

Orange withdraws from deal to buy 45% stake in Ethiopia's Ethio Telecom

Orange pulls out of Ethio Telecom deal amid Ethiopia’s pursuit of sector liberalization

The telecommunications industry in Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa with approximately 120 million people, has been considered a major focal point of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s economic liberalization efforts since assuming office in 2018.

In May 2021, a consortium led by Kenya’s leading operator, Safaricom, secured the initial private license, marking the first competition for Ethio Telecom. However, the sector’s further liberalization has faced impediments, including a two-year civil conflict in the northern Tigray region that concluded in November 2022 and challenging macroeconomic conditions.

Recent developments include the government’s cancellation of a process to grant a second private telecom license due to insufficient market interest. Ethiopia initially initiated a tendering process for a 40% stake in Ethio Telecom in June 2021, later delaying the sale in March 2022 citing economic conditions. The process was revived in November 2022, accompanied by an increased stake offer in February.

About Orange: Connecting the world with innovation

Orange, a prominent telecommunications company, stands as a global player in the dynamic landscape of communication and connectivity. Headquartered in France, the telecom has not only shaped the telecommunications industry in its home country but has also left a significant mark on the international stage.

Founded in 1988, the telecom emerged from the restructuring of the French government’s postal and telecommunications services. Over the years, it has evolved from a state-owned entity to a publicly traded company, trading on the Euronext Paris stock exchange under the symbol ORAN.PA.

At the heart of the telecom’s operations are a diverse set of services spanning mobile and fixed-line telecommunications, internet, and television. With a commitment to providing cutting-edge technology, it has become synonymous with reliable communication services, catering to both individual consumers and businesses.

While deeply rooted in France, the telecom has expanded its footprint globally. The company operates in numerous countries, with a particularly strong presence in Europe and Africa. Through strategic investments and collaborations, Orange has become a key player in the telecommunications markets of various nations.

Orange withdraws from deal to buy 45% stake in Ethiopia's Ethio Telecom
The Orange logo hangs inside an Orange SA mobile phone store in Marseille, France, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. Orange is in early talks about buying Bouygues SA’s phone and television businesses, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would reduce the number of wireless carriers in France and follow in rivals’ footsteps of bringing telecommunications and media together. Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Additionally, the French telecom operator has consistently been at the forefront of technological innovation. From the rollout of advanced mobile networks to the introduction of fibre-optic broadband, the company has embraced transformative technologies to enhance connectivity and improve user experiences.

Its success is not just a result of its internal capabilities but also stems from fruitful partnerships. Collaborations with content providers, technology companies, and other telecommunications entities have played a crucial role in expanding Orange’s service offerings and reaching new markets.

Beyond its business endeavours, the French telecom operator places emphasis on corporate social responsibility. The company engages in initiatives related to sustainability, digital literacy, and community development. This commitment reflects Orange’s awareness of its impact on society and the environment.

As the telecommunications landscape continues to evolve, Orange remains poised for the future. The company’s strategic vision involves staying at the cutting edge of technological advancements, adapting to changing consumer needs, and contributing positively to the communities it serves.

Source : Technext