PIC injects $50m into Smile Telecoms

2015-09-08 11:35 - Chris Spillane
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Kinshasa - Smile Telecoms Holdings, which operates wireless internet in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, has raised $365m in debt and equity financing to develop internet access and extend broadband services to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

South Africa's Public Investment Corporation, the continent's largest money manager, invested $50m in the business, Port Louis, Mauritius-based Smile said in a statement on Tuesday.

The balance came from a consortium of investors led by Cairo-based African Export-Import Bank, which included Lagos-based Diamond Bank, Ecobank Nigeria and Standard Chartered.

Mobile phone and internet companies are seeking to expand in sub-Saharan Africa to take advantage of a growing take-up of affordable smartphones, which can be used for banking services and video content as well as calls.

MTN Group, the continent's biggest wireless carrier, said data revenue gained 21% in the six months through June, compared with a total sales decline of 4.9%.

Smile, which is majority owned by Al Nahla Group of Saudi Arabia and led by CEO Irene Charnley, will use the funding to expand its mobile broadband network and have stable voice services across its markets by the year end.

Smile will introduce its broadband network in the Democratic Republic of Congo in early 2016.

Read more about: smile  |  broadband  |  internet

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