UAE's Etisalat says may sell African towers

Reuters, Thursday 2 Feb 2012

Telecoms giant looks to offload assets while sharing other infrastructure with competitors, in what it calls a 'good business opportunity'

UAE's telecoms firm Etisalat may sell its telephone tower operations in Africa and is considering sharing infrastructure with rival carriers, the former monopoly said in a statement on Thursday.

Etisalat operates in about 10 African countries, including Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ivory Coast.

"Etisalat, like other telecom operators in Africa, is constantly evaluating good business opportunities which includes but (is) not limited to infrastructure sharing with other operators," the statement said.

"No final decision has been reached at this point in time as (to) selling or sharing towers."

On Wednesday, two sources told Reuters that Etisalat had invited bidders for its telephone tower operations in Africa.

The firm has about 4,500 towers in Africa, one source said, and wanted to sell them all in a single deal potentially worth around $500 million. 

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