Cellcom Liberia GSM has reached an agreement with French telecommunications group, Orange, to acquire Cellcom 100%, through its subsidiary, Orange Côte d’Ivoire.
In a statement issued Tuesday and posted on Orange website, the acquisition is part of the international development strategy of Orange, which aims to accelerate its growth by entering new emerging markets with high potential.
“Orange will provide its marketing expertise and world-class technical capability to further strengthen the network operator, enhance services to consumers and contribute to the economic growth of Liberia,” the release said.
Orange added that Cellcom’s current staff and founders will be involved in the company’s operation to ensure a smooth integration, maintain performance and continue long-standing relations with the government of Liberia.
With a national mobile license and its significant market share in the country in number of subscribers, Cellcom has excellent potential for growth over the coming years, the release said.
Meanwhile, a press release from Cellcom GSM Liberia in Monrovia yesterday noted that Orange’s decision to acquire Cellcom was based on the company’s dynamic performance in the local telecom market and its role as an industry leader in value added services, technology and data.
“Cellcom has become the leading telecom operator by market share despite entering the Liberian market 4 years after another provider,” the release said.
“The telecom sector is expected to experience a major transformation as Orange pools its global resources into Cellcom to offer world-class technology, service and customer support.”
The release noted that Liberia would be linked to a 28-country network of mobile service operators enhancing roaming services around the world.
The Liberia Telecommunication Authority’s Director for Public Affairs, Jarsea Burphy, told the Daily Observer that LTA was notified on the acquisition through a letter from Cellcom GSM Liberia on January 11.
“We are currently reviewing the purchase, asking for more documents on the company to make sure that [the acquisition] is done in line with LTA guidelines,” Ms. Burphy said.
She added that while it is true that Cellcom GSM has requested in its letter that it wants the takeover deal completed by February 1, realistically it could not happen since the law requires a 30-day period for review.
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 39 billion Euros in 2014 and 157,000 employees worldwide, as at 30 September 2015, including 98,000 employees in France. Present in 28 countries, the Group has a total customer base of 263 million customers worldwide, including 200 million mobile customers and 18 million fixed broadband customers, Orange says on its website.
It said it is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services.
In March 2015, the Group presented its new strategic plan, “Essentials2020”, which places customer experience at the heart of its strategy with the aim of allowing them to benefit fully from the digital universe and the power of its new generation networks.