The UAE’s largest carrier, Etisalat, is entertaining global expansion plans with a take-over offer for the Sri Lanka assets of Millicom International Cellular.
Etisalat has confirmed that it had made a bid for all of Sri Lankan operator, Tigo, on September 4, without disclosing the amount.
The offshore moves have been in progression for some time. Etisalat last year agreed to buy a 45% stake in India’s Swan Telecom for $900 million and in July structured a licensing deal with Reliance Communications for its wireless network assets. In November, Etisalat said it had more than $3 billion in cash to fund purchases in 2009.
Millicom is controlled by Sweden’s Kinnevik Investment AB, and has assets throughout Asia, including units in Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Tigo has around 2.2 million customers, or 17.5% of the local market.
Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat is 60% owned by the UAE government.