Abraaj enters telecoms space with Tunisia buy

The firm has acquired a 35% stake in Tunisie Telecom, its 10th deal in the country and its first in the sector.

The Abraaj Group acquired a “significant minority stake” in Tunisie Telecom, Tunisia’s largest telecommunications firm, from Emirates International Telecommunications, in its first telecoms investment.

Abraaj did not disclose the share or the purchase price, but a Tunisian minister said last month the firm had purchased EIT’s 35 percent stake, according to media reports. EIT, the telecommunications arm of Dubai Holdings, bought the share for $2.25 billion in 2006.

Abraaj, headquartered in Dubai, has been active in the region, including the acquisition of a majority stake in Clinique Taoufik, a private hospital in Tunisia, in 2014. The firm said the Tunisie Telecom deal is the largest of its 10 investments in the country.

“The telecommunications industry in Tunisia is experiencing exponential growth driven by favourable government policies and a rapidly evolving economy,” said Ahmed Badreldin, Abraaj’s head of the Middle East and North Africa. “Driven by strong consumer demand, Tunisie Telecom is well positioned to capture greater market share and cement its leading position in Tunisia and beyond.”

The telecoms operator serves more than 5 million customers in Tunisia, with additional assets in Malta, Cyprus and Mauritania.

Abraaj, which holds around $13.6 billion in assets under management, invests in emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Turkey. Last month, the firm invested in a 111MW natural gas-fired power plant in Chihuahua, Mexico.