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Etisalat may bid for stake in Ethiopian telco

e& Vodafone Reuters/Jumana El Heloueh
E&'s UAE network generates most of its profit and revenue, but it plans to increase its stake in Britain's Vodafone

Abu Dhabi-listed Etisalat, now branded as e&, is planning to bid for a 45 percent stake in Ethio, a state-controlled telecom operator in Ethiopia.

The UAE’s telecom company is talking to advisers, Bloomberg reported citing informed sources.

France’s Orange SA is also weighing the option to bid for a similar stake.

Talks are at an early stage, with the Ethiopian government not putting any timetable to complete the sale.

In addition, Ethiopia is exploring issuing a third telecom license to compete with existing players – Ethio and Safaricom.

Etisalat is also interested in potentially bidding for the new license, sources told Bloomberg. Companies are required to express their interest by September 15.

Etisalat last week confirmed that it was in talks with Czech investment firm PPF Group to explore opportunities in central and southeastern Europe.

AGBI last month reported that the Abu Dhabi-listed telecom operator made a paper loss estimated at $2.1 billion on its stake in Vodafone due to a slump in the UK’s Vodafone Group’s share price since mid-2022.

The company holds a 14.61 percent stake in Vodafone.