October 1, 2008 / 2:29 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-MTN buys Ivory Coast's Arobase Telecom, Afnet

(Adds CEO quote, details, share price)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator MTN (MTNJ.J) said on Wednesday it has acquired 100 percent of Ivory Coast’s Arobase Telecom S.A. and 100 percent of Afnet, for an undisclosed amount.

Arobase Telecom is the second land line operator in Ivory Coast and Afnet is an Internet service provider in Ivory Coast which offers wireless broadband technology and data services.

MTN said in a statement the acquisition of Arobase Telecom and Afnet was in line with its stated strategy to provide integrated communications solutions in all its markets.

“We believe both Afnet and Arobase will add value to MTN and support our strategy to ensure that the group is well positioned to benefit from a rapidly converging technology market,” MTN Group Chief Executive Officer, Phuthuma Nhleko, said in a statement.

The acquisition of the fixed line business and Internet service providers is in line with its strategy of rolling out fibre-optic network to enhance its converged communications services.

MTN, which operates in more than 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East, is trying to diversify its earnings beyond its key markets of Nigeria and South Africa.

The stock fell 3.47 percent at 111.01 rand by 1451 GMT, in line with the Johannesburg Top-40 index of blue-chip stocks .JTOPI which lost 2.41 percent. (Reporting by Gugulakhe Lourie; Editing by Richard Hubbard)

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