October 22, 2020

Essar Completely Exits Telecom Business With yuMobile Sale



By selling off yuMobile in Kenya to Bharti Airtel and local operator Safaricom, Essar on Thursday marked its exit from telecom business globally and completed monetisation in the segment for $6 billion.

Essar Global Fund Limited (EGFL), managed by Essar Capital, said in a statement that “it has completely exited the telecom business with successful closure of the transaction in Kenya.”

Essar has concluded sale of its Kenya-based yuMobile to Airtel and Safaricom for $120 million.

The deal is part of EGFL’s strategy to monetise global telecommunications portfolio at a value of over $6 billion, the statement said.

“With this EGFL has completed monetising its telecom business for an aggregate value of over $6 billion,” the statement said.

Telecom Kenya Limited (ETKL), which operates the popular yuMobile telecom service in Kenya has sold its network, IT, and office infrastructure to Safaricom, while Airtel has absorbed over the 2.55 million subscriber base.

Airtel said that it has successfully integrated yuMobile customers into its network.

“Airtel now consolidates its position as the second largest mobile operator in Kenya with a combined customer base of over 8 million and a 26.6 percent customer market share,” Airtel said.

yuMobile customers will also retain their existing mobile numbers and continue to enjoy their services.

“Completion of the ETKL transaction realises Essar Capital’s strategy of divesting EGFL’s investments in the global telecommunications sector,” Firdhose Coovadia, Board Member of Essar Capital, fund managers of EGFL said.

In 2010, Essar sold the telecom tower business to ATC for $425 million.

In 2011, Essar sold its entire stake (33 percent) in Vodafone Essar for $5.2 billion.

In July 2014, the US based outsourcing company, Aegis US, was sold to Teleperformance for $610 million.

And, now with the sale of the telecom business in Kenya, Essar has exited the telecom space thereby monetising all its investments.