‘Mergers, acquisitions in telecom lucrative despite slowdown’

December 24th, 2008 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) Despite the global downturn slowing mergers and acquisitions (M&A), 20 such deals worth $9.15 billion took place in the country’s telecom sector this fiscal, said an industry lobby study released Wednesday. The study on ‘Mergers and Acquisitions in Telecom Sector’ by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), said the telecom sector had accounted for 33 percent of the total M&A deals this fiscal.

Most of the deals were in-bound with foreign companies infusing money to the tune of $8.06 billion, it added.

While the Indian firms spent $408 million in offshore buyouts, mergers worth $679 million were announced during the period of April-November.

“Indian telecom growth story seems to have remained unaffected by the global liquidity crisis, with unabated interest in the sector from global operators. The sector is expected to continue to grow at rapid momentum despite all odds prevailing in the economy,” Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said.

Indian telecom market is the fastest growing in the world, where the number of total outstanding cellular subscribers has grown at the rate of 51.7 percent during April-September. New cellular subscribers have been added at the rate of 26.1 percent.

The largest deal during the period was the buyout of 26 percent stake in Tata Teleservices by Japanese company NTT DoCoMo Inc for $2.7 billion.

Turkish telecom company Turkcell’s deal with Datacom Solutions to buy the latter’s 51 percent stake is the next in the line. Though the deal is still in process, the expected value is around $2.2 billion.

Other major deals include Italian multinational Telecom Italia’s acquisition of 49 percent stake in Unitech Telecom for $2 billion and the Dubai-based Emirates Telecommunications Corp’s (Etisalat) buyout of 45 percent stake in Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd for $900 million.

The major telecom deal in the domestic market was that the acquisition of 40.8 percent stake in Spice Communications by Idea Cellular for Rs.27.16 billion.

The largest offshore deal is the acquisition of Vanco Group, the London-based global managed network services provider, for $365 million by Reliance Globalcom Ltd, part of Reliance Communications.

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