Cellcom Raises $20 Million

Cellcom Telecommunications Ltd., a mobile carrier operating in West Africa, has raised $20 million from Emerging Capital Partners. The funds will be used to expand Cellcom's network and operations in Liberia, and to launch service in Guinea and Sierra Leone.



Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), an international private equity firm focused on investing across the African continent, today announced a U.S. $20 million investment in Cellcom Telecommunications Limited (Cellcom), a mobile telecommunications company with operations in West Africa. The funds will be used to expand Cellcom's network and operations in Liberia and launch service in Guinea and Sierra Leone.


“Cellcom is the leader in the Liberian mobile telecoms market and has a very attractive business model that combines pre-paid services, low cost handsets, aggressive marketing and superior customer service,” said Tom Gibian, chief executive officer of ECP. “We are confident that the company will be able to expand its operations and repeat its success in Guinea and Sierra Leone as well as new West African markets.”


The mobile phone penetration rates in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are among the lowest on the African continent at around 17 percent, 6 percent and 10 percent respectively. Cellcom sees significant opportunity to expand capacity and coverage in these markets where demand still outstrips supply. Mobile telecom subscriber growth in Africa in 2006 was 45 percent, making the continent the world's fastest growing market for mobile telecommunications. Wireless Intelligence forecasts predict additional growth of 50 percent by 2010. West Africa has led the African continent in mobile telecom growth, recording 75 percent subscription growth in 2006 alone.


“ECP is well versed in the African mobile telephony industry, and we believe Cellcom has the technical and operational capability to become a leader in the Manu River sub-Region of the West African market,” said Bryce Fort, managing director of ECP. “The low levels of current market penetration combined with high demand make wireless telecommunications one of the most promising sectors in West Africa.”


This investment in Cellcom is ECP's seventh in the African mobile telecom industry. This includes current stakes in MTN Cote d'Ivoire, Starcomms Nigeria Limited and Celtel Gabon as well as successful exits from Telecel Faso, Orascom Telecom Algeria, Celtel International, and Sonatel.


The Cellcom investment was made through ECP's U.S. $523 million ECP Africa Fund II. The fund was established in December 2005 to capitalize on the numerous investment opportunities throughout Africa in sectors such as telecom, natural resources, financial services, agribusiness, transportation, and power and water.



Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) is the first private equity firm to raise more than U.S. $1.2 billion to invest in companies across the African continent. The ECP team has an eight-year track record of pan-African investing through six successful funds. The firm's investment strategy is focused on delivering consistently above-market returns to investors that are uncorrelated to the U.S. and other global economies. For more information, please see http://www.ecpinvestments.com/