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IT/TELECOMNEWSLETTER

Airtel Seals Deal to Procure 100% Stake in Tigo Rwanda

 

India-owned telecommunications services provider, has announced an agreement to acquire 100 percent equity interest in Tigo Rwanda Limited.

The deal between Airtel and Millicom International Cellular S.A., will see Airtel Rwanda Limited buying up the stake in Tigo Rwanda.

The acquisition will consolidate the Rwandan telecom market and position Airtel as a strong number two operator in the country,it was gathered.

The consideration for the transaction is based on approximately 6x EBITDA multiple, payable over two years. The agreement is subject to regulatory and statutory approvals.

Chairman of Bharti Airtel, Sunil Bharti Mittal, stated that, “Airtel has taken proactive steps in Africa to consolidate and realign the market structure in the last few remaining countries where its operations are lagging on account of lower market share and presence of too many operators.

“Airtel and Tigo have already merged their operations to create a strong viable entity in Ghana. Today, it has taken yet another important step to acquire Tigo Rwanda to become a profitable and a strong challenger in a two-player market.

“We are also committed to the long term viability of our operations in two other countries i.e. Kenya and Tanzania, to ensure that in 2018 all our 15 operations in Africa start contributing positive margins and cash flows towards a healthy and profitable Airtel Africa.”

The agreement aims to bring together the strengths of Airtel and Millicom in Rwanda and offer benefits to customers in the form of a wider network, affordable voice and data services, and superior customer care.

The existing customers of Tigo Rwanda will join Airtel’s global network, which currently serves over 370 million customers across 17 countries. They will enjoy, amongst other things, benefits of the ‘One Airtel’ network with lower roaming rates across Africa and South Asia, an exciting bouquet of innovative services including Airtel Money.

Raghunath Mandava, MD and CEO, Airtel Africa, said, “The acquisition reinforces our commitment to the Rwanda market and is a significant step towards creating a stronger presence in the country. It will create synergies with our existing business and help boost operational efficiencies in the market.

On completion, the proposed acquisition will undergo seamless integration, both on the customer as well as the network side, and further strengthen our market position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bitcoin warnings grow more strident as Singapore urges ‘extreme caution’
Masayuki Kitano, Jemima Kelly
6 MIN READ
SINGAPORE/LONDON (Reuters) – Global financial regulators are beginning to warn the public against the risks of investing in a market that many feel is in a speculative bubble, with Singapore’s central bank on Tuesday urging “extreme caution” about buying cryptocurrencies.

FILE PHOTO: A coin representing the bitcoin cryptocurrency is seen on computer circuit boards in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo
The staggering growth of bitcoin and other decentralised digital currencies this year – with the market swelling from around $17 billion at the start of January to well over $600 billion now – has led to increasing concerns over what the fallout could be if the bubble were to suddenly burst.

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There have also been worries that regulators have not been doing enough to protect consumers. Many, though, say investors must take responsibility and must not expect protection if they lose money because of the difficulties of regulating an opaque, complex market that has no centralised authority.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in an official statement on Tuesday it is “concerned that members of the public may be attracted to invest in cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, due to the recent escalation in their prices”.

“MAS considers the recent surge in the prices of cryptocurrencies to be driven by speculation,” the central bank said in a statement. “The risk of a sharp reduction in prices is high. Investors in cryptocurrencies should be aware that they run the risk of losing all their capital.”

The city-state’s central bank added that there is no regulatory safeguard for investments in cryptocurrencies and that it does not regulate them either.

It urged the public to act with “extreme caution” and to understand the “significant risks” they take on if they invest in virtual currencies.

Denmark’s central bank on Monday said bitcoin investing was “deadly”, warning the public to steer clear of it. It also said potential investors should not complain to financial regulators if things do go wrong.

A survey by the Centre for Macroeconomics and the Centre for Economic Policy Research released on Tuesday found a majority of leading European economists were in favour of greater regulatory oversight of the market, primarily because of concerns that cryptocurrencies facilitate tax evasion and other criminal activity.

But a large majority of the economists agreed that the market did not represent a threat to the stability of the financial system – now or in the next couple of years – as mainstream financial markets were isolated enough from bitcoin. They also took the view that the cryptocurrency market was still relatively small.

European Union states and legislators agreed last week on stricter rules to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing on exchange platforms for bitcoin and other virtual currencies, but it has not moved to regulate the market beyond that.

Late in 2013, the EU issued a formal warning on the risks of using unregulated online currencies, warning that bitcoin investors would be on their own if they lost money.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP set a record high of $19,666 on Sunday on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, its prices having surged more than twentyfold this year. On Tuesday at 1447 GMT, it stood at $17,942, down more than 5 percent on the day.

BIG IN ASIA

“As most operators of platforms on which cryptocurrencies are traded do not have a presence in Singapore, it would be difficult to verify their authenticity or credibility. There is greater risk of fraud when investors deal with entities whose backgrounds and operations cannot be easily verified,” the MAS said on Tuesday.

Singapore has been positioning itself in recent years as a capital for “fintech” – or financial technology – but it is not a centre for cryptocurrency trading. Instead, Japan and South Korea are home to some of the biggest global exchanges, and investors there have piled into the market over the past year.

South Korea said last week that it will ban minors from opening accounts on exchanges, a statement seen by Reuters showed, and that it may tax capital gains from cryptocurrency trading.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday that bitcoin had not been proven to be a credible currency and that he would watch its developments.

Australia’s central bank chief also last week warned of a “speculative mania” in the market, while his New Zealand counterpart said bitcoin appeared to be a “classic case” of a bubble and cast doubt on its future.

The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned last week that trading and public offerings of new cryptocurrencies in so called “Initial Coin Offerings” or “ICOs” may be in violation of federal securities law, after stopping one from going ahead.

China has outlawed ICOs, while other regulators such as Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority have issued warnings about the risks of investing in them.

On Sunday, France’s finance minister said his country would propose that the G20 group of major economies discuss regulation of bitcoin next year.

Dollar struggles as doubts grow over impact of U.S. tax bill
Tommy Wilkes
4 MIN READ
LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar declined for a second consecutive day on Tuesday as investors took the view that a major U.S. tax overhaul would be unlikely to boost the economy significantly, with most major currencies trading in tight ranges in a relatively thin market.

50 Euro banknotes are displayed in this picture illustration taken November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Illustration
World stock markets have roared ahead on U.S. tax cut hopes, but the greenback has remained muted. Traders believe most of the positive impact of the cuts to corporation tax have already been priced in, while expectations that the reform would trigger a wave of repatriated dollars overplayed.

The euro EUR=EBS was up 0.2 percent at 1.1808 against the dollar, and broadly flat against the pound EURGBP=D3 at 88.16 pence per euro.

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The dollar, measured against a broad trade-weighted basket of major currencies, was down 0.14 percent .DXY.

“A year ago there was a lot of excitement [regarding repatriation of dollars after the tax reform]. Now it’s a bit of a damp squid,” said Jane Foley, a senior FX strategist at Rabobank.

She said caution about the outlook for the U.S. economy was also holding the dollar back.

“It’s very difficult to call for a significant increase in value of [U.S.] yields when inflation is low. That is a constraint for the value of the dollar,” she said.

Traders are shying away from taking big positions ahead of the holiday season, although news that the U.S. tax reform was set to become law helped support some risk appetite.

The euro is up more than 12 percent against the dollar so far this year and is on track for posting its best annual performance since 2004.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar notes are seen in this November 7, 2016 picture illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
While it remains roughly 3 percent away from the 2-1/2 year peak of nearly $1.21 hit in early September, the 2017 gains show how sentiment towards the euro zone has turned around completely from earlier this year when the bloc’s breakup was discussed.

Euro zone economies have posted better-than-expected economic data and political stability this year has been stronger than many had predicted at the start of the year.

In the United States, the Republican-controlled Congress appears all but certain this week to pass the sweeping tax overhaul backed by President Donald Trump after two Senate Republican holdouts agreed on Monday to support it.

Rising hopes of the bill’s passage helped push U.S. stocks to record highs on Monday. European stock futures had a timid start after corporate deal-making had pushed markets higher earlier in the week.

While Fed policymakers expect the U.S. economy to get a short-term lift from the tax reform, they project growth will then ease back to about 2 percent by 2020 and not rise to around 3 percent as Trump and his administration predict.

“The tax reform is going to be one of the key angles for markets this week…(but) nobody is going to be taking any major positions before the year-end,” said Viraj Patel, a foreign exchange strategist at ING.

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The dollar was broadly flat against the yen at 112.62 yen JPY=EBS, drifting in a range between a high of 113.750 hit a week ago and Friday’s low of 112.035.

Bitcoin fell 5.52 percent at $17,895 BTC=BTSP on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, below its record high of $19,666 hit on Sunday.

Sterling slips as Brexit talks keep investors cautious
Jemima Kelly
3 MIN READ
LONDON (Reuters) – Sterling dipped in a calm market on Tuesday after climbing the previous day, with investors cautious about risks surrounding Brexit negotiations for the year ahead despite progress in the talks last week.

A British Pound Sterling note is seen in this June 22, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration
A survey that on Monday showed British factories matched a three-decade high for orders this month prodded the pound higher against the dollar and euro.

But sterling was not able to hold on to those gains, even given the breakthrough in divorce talks between Britain and the European Union at the end of last week that will mean the two sides can move on to discussions on trade and a transition deal.

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“We’ve averted a near-term catastrophe and an extended stalemate in the talks, but now we move on to trade and transition. In one sense there’s been a bit of a resolution but in an another sense we’re still got a long way to go,” said BMO Capital Markets currency strategist Stephen Gallo.

“Sterling is just treading water – I don’t think anyone is thinking of putting any big positions on until the first or second week of January.”

Sterling slipped 0.1 percent to $1.3363. Against the euro, the pound weakened 0.3 percent to 88.30 pence.

It showed little reaction to data released earlier in the day showing British employers plan to hire more workers and raise pay more quickly in 2018, but they also fear that Brexit will make the country a less attractive place to do business.

Some investors reckon sterling is likely to strengthen in the coming months.

“The weakness of the pound, which is currently the worst performing G10 currency versus the U.S. dollar on a month-to-date basis, is likely to be an anomaly,” said MUFG currency strategist Lee Hardman, in London.

“A quick (Brexit) transition deal still appears the most likely outcome in the first quarter of 2018, a scenario which has yet to be factored into the price of the pound.”

But there are still worries about political uncertainty.

British Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament her plan on Monday for a Brexit transition period with broadly the same access to EU markets was met with scepticism from pro-Brexit lawmakers fearful of a watered-down EU exit.

Last week May’s fragility was exposed by the rebellion of 11 largely pro-European Conservative lawmakers in a parliamentary vote on Brexit legislation that led to an embarrassing defeat.

Active telecoms subscribers reach 141m in October, says NCC
By [email protected] | Publish Date: Dec 19 2017 2:14PM
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Active telecoms subscribers reach 141m in October, says NCC
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says that it recorded 140,766,653 active subscribers of the telecommunication networks in October as against 139,905,213 in September.
The telecommunications regulatory agency disclosed this in its Monthly Subscriber/Operator Data that was available on its website on Tuesday.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the active subscribers increased by 861,440.
According to the data, 140,350,383 of the 140,766,653 active numbers subscribe to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network services.
The GSM operators’ active customers’ figure increased by 863,551 in October, after the 139,486,832 subscribers recorded in September.
The reports stated that out of the GSM operators, MTN had 50,720,702 users in October, showing an increase of 413,533 from the 50,307,169 it recorded in September.
Globacom’s figure increased in October by 68,954 with 37,418,933 customers, as against 37,349,979 in September.
Airtel had 35,089,690 subscribers in the month under review, which showed an increase of 463,946 users, from the 34,625,744 recorded in September.
9mobile recorded a drop in customers by 82,882 in October, giving a customer base of 17,121,058, as against 17,203,940 users in September.

 

 

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