Banking & Finance Etisalat confirms interest in Ethiopian telco Ethio By Andy Sambidge July 11, 2023 Reuters/Jumana El Heloueh Customers queue at an Etisalat kiosk at a Dubai mall. The telecoms giant is in talks with Czech firm PPF Group Abu Dhabi giant at ‘early stage’ of assessing bid for a stake Ethio is state controlled and holds 1 of the country’s 2 telecoms licences Telecoms giant Etisalat (rebranded as e&) confirmed on Tuesday that it is considering buying a stake in Ethio, a state-controlled operator in Ethiopia. The Abu Dhabi-based company, which is now branded e&, said in a filing to the stock exchange that it was “at an early stage” of assessing a bid. The statement from the company’s chief financial officer Karim Bennis did not give further details, but Bloomberg reported last week that e& is talking to advisers about a possible 45 percent stake. France’s Orange is reportedly considering bidding for a similar stake. Etisalat’s bet on Vodafone backfires as shares slump Gulf telcos nurse FX losses as foreign expansion sours The Ethiopian government is also exploring issuing a third telecoms licence to compete with existing players – Ethio and Safaricom. Etisalat could be interested in bidding for this licence, sources told Bloomberg. Last week Etisalat confirmed that it is in talks with Czech investment firm PPF Group to explore opportunities in central and southeastern Europe. AGBI revealed last month that Etisalat has made a paper loss estimated at $2.1 billion on its share in Vodafone, because of a slump in the UK group’s share price since mid-2022. The company holds a 14.61 percent stake in Vodafone.