JOHANNESBURG, January 23 – South Africa\’s largest fixed line telephone operator Telkom said Thursday it has gained full control of a private Nigerian telco, a major step in expanding its business on the continent.
Telkom said it paid 130 million dollars (100 million euros) to buy the outstanding 25 percent it did not own in Multi-Links.
"We remain focused on pursuing growth by diversifying our revenue streams into African markets with high growth potential," chief executive Reuben September said in a statement.
Multi-Links was the first company in Nigeria to introduce a digital fixed-mobile technology that enables the provision of more efficient and cost-effective wireless solutions.
The company\’s also has a universal access licence that allows it to provide fixed, mobile, fixed-wireless, international and data services in one of the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in Africa. It also owns an ISP license.
"Our 100 percent ownership of Multi-Links, therefore, not only meets Telkom’s broader investment criteria but also provides us with the opportunity to expand our mobile capability," September said.
In 2007, Telkom which enjoys a near monopoly in South Africa, acquired a 75 percent stake at Multi Links. The remaining 25 percent was held by Kenston Investment.
Telkom said Multi-Links had grown its mobile subscriber base since September 2007 from 262,431 to more than 1.7 million subscribers as of September 30 last year.
Telkom, which is partly owned by the government, has total assets of 8.6 billion dollars.