ADDIS ABABA – The Government of Ethiopia has today reissued an Expression of Interest for the partial privatization of the state-owned telecom service provider Ethio Telecom.
The announcement comes on the same day the government kicked off a stakeholder consultation process to resume the issuance of the third telecom operating license.
Ethiopia first announced the beginning of the tendering process to sell its 40% stake in Ethio Telecom to an investor in July 2021, generating interest from some top global firms including France’s Orange.
Its officials, however, chose to put the partial sell-off of the telco on hold months later, after consultation with several interested telecom companies and consideration of “adverse development in the domestic and international market”.
Briefing reporters today, Finance Minister Ahmed Shide said the government is now ready to engage with prospective bidders.
“After careful consideration of the market conditions and a very stable outlook currently of the country with the signing of the agreement to end hostilities in the northern part of Ethiopia, the government is now ready to engage with prospective bidders to partially privatize 40% of Ethio Telecom’s share,” disclosed Ahmed.
Accordingly, the government is reinstating the process with the launching of the Expression of Interest that will permit prospective companies to express their interest, the Minister said.
“The document will be available on the website of the Ministry of Finance and expression of interest will be open until December 19, 2022,” he added.
Deloitte Consulting Ltd is assigned to serve as the transaction advisor representing the government that seeks to sell 40% of its stake in Ethio Telecom to a single investor. It will retain 55% of the company, while 5% of the stakes will be offered to local investors.
State Minister of Finance Eyob Tekalegn said both the partial privatization of Ethio Telecom and the initiation of the stakeholder consultation process for the third telecom operating license are part of Ethiopia’s Telecom sector transformation plan.
The move, he said, also aims to create a world-class telecom industry and enhance the country’s digital economy.
Authorities already awarded an operating license to a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom, Vodafone, and Japan’s Sumitomo.
The group paid $850 million for the license and their company, Safaricom Telecommunication Ethiopia plc, is now competing with Ethio Telecom after launching its national operation in Sept 2022.
Ethio Telecom generated 61.3 billion Birr in revenue in the 2021/22 fiscal year alone, and has nearly 67 million subscribers, covering more than half the population.
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