By Roger Field
PAIDF, Africa’s largest infrastructure equity fund, pumps $94 million into Essar Telecom Kenya Holdings.
Pan African Investment Fund has invested $93.75 million in Essar Telecom Kenya Holdings (ETK), a Kenyan mobile operator formerly known as Econet Wireless Kenya, to help the company expand its operation in East Africa.
ETK, a subsidiary of Indian telecom operator Essar Telecom Limited, operates a GSM service in Kenya under the youth focused brand “yu”.
The company, which became Kenya’s fourth mobile operator in 2008, has about 400,000 subscribers in Nairobi and Mombasa and intends to complete the rollout of its network throughout Kenya by end of the year.
Srinivasa Iyengar, CEO, ETK said: “We are committed to build a quality network in Kenya with the objective to offer ‘best in class’ experience to our customers.”
Tshepo Mahloele, CEO of Harith, fund managers for PAIDF, said the Essar Group will bring about significant change to East Africa’s mobile market that will “extend beyond Kenya.”
Kenya’s telecoms sector is widely viewed has holding significant potential with the country expected to reach 100% mobile saturation in 2013, according to a recent report from Business Monitor International.
ETK competes with rival GSM operators Safaricom, Celtel Kenya, and incumbent operator Telkom Kenya.