Mauritius’s state-owned telecommunications operator is assessing opportunities in several African nations as part of a key strategic initiative to diversify out of the Indian Ocean island market.
Mauritius Telecom is evaluating potential acquisitions in places such as Seychelles, Madagascar, Congo Brazzaville and Ghana, CEO Kapil Reesaul said in an interview. While expansion could be through an existing mobile operator, the company won’t limit itself to mobile communications.
“We have the resources and the capacity to invest, backed by well-reputed banks based on our strong financial foothold,” Reesaul said. “We are hence seeking new markets and niche markets where we are confident we will be able to replicate what we have achieved in Mauritius.”
The Port Louis-based operator has built an unchallenged position in the island nation of 1.26 million people with 100% fibre-to-home coverage, 1.05 million mobile subscribers and 393 000 fixed lines. Its profit jumped 79% last year.
The Mauritian government is the biggest shareholder with a 33.49% direct stake, and another 25.55% through state-run SBM Holdings and the National Pension Fund. France’s Orange has 40% through an investment vehicle, according to the operator’s 2022 annual report.
Ahead of acquisitions, Mauritius Telecom has invested R1.1-billion in a new submarine fibre cable connecting Mauritius to South Africa. The next step will be its extension to India and Singapore for an estimated $120-million, said Reesaul, who was appointed CEO in August 2022.
“We are currently in talks with Indian operators as well as Orange and Cable & Wireless of Seychelles,” he said. — Kamlesh Bhuckory, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP