The telecoms industry in Africa and the Middle East is set to experience a major wave of mergers and acquisitions, as mobile operators, in particular, seek economies of scale, according to senior executives speaking at a conference hosted by A.T. Kearney in London this week.
“There are too many players in Africa, so there is a strong likelihood of consolidation,” François-Xavier Roger, Chief Financial Officer of multinational mobile operator Millicom International Cellular, told the international Telecoms and Media Conference. “If you have a high market share, then you can be sure of a very high EBITDA. We want to be number one or number two in all our markets.”
Tim Lowry, a recent member of pan-African mobile operator MTN’s executive management committee, added: “Africa and the Middle East remind me of Europe in 2000 – there are too many licenses being issued by regulators. So there is going to be a lot of consolidation.” Gert Rieder, CEO of Batelco Bahrain, also predicted fewer players in future, forecasting both in-market and cross-border consolidation. “We have the luxury of being a debt-free company. So we are in a good position to go for large acquisitions in the next few years,” he added. To read more: click here