UAE telecoms operator e& boosts Vodafone Group stake to 11%

Abu Dhabi-based telco has increased its share to aggregate 3,015.5 million shares

Telecoms company e&'s has increased its stake-holding in Vodafone. Photo: E-Vision
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The UAE’s biggest telecoms operator, e& — formerly known as Etisalat — has increased its stake in British company Vodafone Group as it seeks to diversify operations globally.

The company has increased its share to “aggregate 3,015.5 million shares, representing 11 per cent of Vodafone's issued share capital [excluding treasury shares]”, the telco said in a statement on Wednesday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

The financials of the transaction were not disclosed.

“The rationale of e&’s investment in Vodafone is unchanged from the original investment, as announced on May 14. 2022, which is to gain significant exposure to a world leader in connectivity and digital service at an attractive valuation,” the company added.

In May, e& acquired about 2,766 million shares, or a 9.8 per cent stake in Vodafone, for $4.4 billion.

The UAE telecoms operator does not seek board representation at Vodafone and does not intend to make an offer for the company, it said in its May statement.

Abu Dhabi-based e& was founded in 1976 and is the UAE's oldest telecoms company. It has operations in about 16 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, serving more than 156 million customers.

In February, e& rebranded as it sought to transform into a global technology investment conglomerate.

It provides innovative digital solutions, smart connectivity and next-generation technology to a variety of customer segments through its business pillars — etisalat by e&, e& international, e& life, e& enterprise and e& capital.

In October, e& launched a $250 million venture capital fund as part of its new investment unit, e& capital, to support the tech start-up ecosystem. The e& capital VC fund will seek to attract, engage and support start-ups and provide them with access to investor and expert networks.

During the same month, e& enterprise also completed the 100 per cent acquisition of Smartworld, one of the UAE’s leading technology solutions providers and systems integrators.

Last month, the company reported a nearly 2 per cent rise in third-quarter net profit, despite revenue falling 2.4 per cent.

Net profit for the company in the three months to the end of September jumped to Dh2.5 billion ($680 million), compared with Dh2.4 billion during the same period last year. Its revenue during the quarter reached Dh13 billion, almost Dh300 million less than the same period last year.

Updated: December 07, 2022, 1:52 PM