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MENA ripe for M&A despite recession

13 августа 2009

The impact of the economic downturn has come later to the Middle East and North Africa, but the region's telecoms markets are now feeling the effects of the recession, according to a new report from Analysys Mason.

Moves to save money and protect bottom lines are changing the MENA telecoms landscape, and despite the recession, there are still opportunities for mergers and acquisitions, the analyst firm said on Wednesday.

Operators in the region are increasingly turning to network-sharing and managed services deals with the major vendors.

"Operators in markets where network coverage is no longer a key competitive differentiator should particularly consider network sharing as a means to reduce costs," Analysys Mason said in the report, noting that there have been a number of network-sharing deals across the region in the past two years and others are in the pipeline.

In June Ericsson announced what it claimed was Africa's first network outsourcing deal when it agreed to take over the running of Zain's mobile network in Nigeria.

And Analysys Mason predicts that there are more such deals to come.

Furthermore despite the recession, and the fact that many markets in the region are approaching saturation, the analyst firm believes M&A activity is on the cards.

"Debt financing is more expensive and difficult to acquire in the current economic conditions, but several operators in the region have cash reserves that enable them to make acquisitions without relying on financing," the report said.

Operators are monitoring opportunities in a number of markets in the region, particularly where new licence awards are due to take place.

Libya, Morocco and Iran feature amongst a number of markets highlighted by the company.

"All of the major operators in the MENA region seem interested in forthcoming M&A and licensing opportunities," the firm said.

Etisalat, MTN, Orascom Telecom, Qtel, Saudi Telecom and Zain dominate, with each covering at least three MENA markets. QTel and Zain have the widest footprints, covering seven and eight territories respectively.


Источник: Total Telecom

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