Axian, ECP to acquire majority stake in Togo state telco

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A consortium composed of Madagascar’s Axian Group and Africa-focused private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) will acquire a 51% stake in Togo’s state telecommunications company, Togocom, the government said on Thursday.

The West African government’s acceptance of the bid by the Agou Holding consortium marks the completion of a privatization process announced last year. The deal leaves Togocom - the holding company for Togo Telecom and mobile network operator Togocel - with an enterprise value of over 210 billion CFA francs ($353 million).

Agou Holding plans to invest 245 million euros ($271 million) in the company over the next seven years to improve international connectivity and expand Togocom’s high-speed fiber and mobile networks, the government said in a statement.

“This major operation marks a crucial step in the government’s digital roadmap,” Cina Lawson, Minister of Post, the Digital Economy and Technological Innovation, said.

Based in Madagascar, Axian owns Telma, a telecom firm operating in the Indian Ocean Madagascar, Comoros, Reunion Island and Mayotte, and is present in Senegal through its operator Free Senegal, formerly Tigo.

ECP has previously invested in telecommunications companies including MTN Côte d’Ivoire, Orascom Telecom Algeria, Airtel, Wananchi and IHS Towers.

In addition to Togocel, Moov Togo, a local subsidiary of Etisalat ETISALAT.AD, also operates a mobile network in Togo.

Reporting by Joe Bavier; Editing by Tim Cocks