French telecoms firm Orange eyes investment in Nigeria, South Africa
France’s largest telecom operator Orange is believed to be eyeing Nigeria and South Africa in a bid to have its footprint in the two Africa’s major economies and expand its operations in the continent.
The telecoms firm Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard was quoted as saying the company may make a move within the next few months to establish its presence in the two biggest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“It could make sense to be in economies such as Nigeria and South Africa,” Richard was quoted as saying. “If one considers there are things to do, the time frame I am considering is rather a few months than a few years,” Richard told Les Echos business newspaper.
Orange has presence in 18 countries in the Middle East and Africa, while its West African subsidiary Dakar based Sonatel Mobile Telecoms announced plans to issue $174 million in bonds by mid-July in the largest ever debt issue by a private company on the West coast regional market.
The region makes a large chunk of its revenues from payment transfers – a key part of the group’s diversification into financial services.
Orange said earlier this year it was bringing its operations in the Middle East and Africa into a single entity, paving the way for a potential listing of the operations that could raise cash to invest in overseas expansion.
Richard said Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions.
Richard declined to comment on a possible interest in South Africa’s MTN Group Ltd.
* With report from Reuters