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Orange in talks to Sell Telkom Kenya Stake

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France's Orange has put its Kenyan subsidiary up for sale, marking its long expected exit from the country.

Citing unnamed sources, the Daily Nation newspaper reported that France Telecom/Orange has formally notified the government of its intent to sell its 70% stake in Telkom Kenya.

Orange is already said to be in talks with several buyers.

France Telecom originally bought a 51% stake in the Kenyan landline operator in 2007 for USD390 million, but raised its stake to 70% last January when the government was unable to match investment funding that was needed to stem losses at the company.

The company has struggled with high debts and poor investment as customers increasingly switched to mobile services.

Telkom Kenya originally owned  a stake in the Safaricom mobile network, but that was split off by the government prior to the sale to France Telecom. Telkom Kenya was then granted its own mobile license, but has struggled to sign up customers in the market dominated by Safaricom.

Earlier this year it imposed a recruitment freeze to try and bring down its oversized wage bill. The former state-monopoly employs 1,700 staff and has a wage bill that eats into 22 percent of its revenue, which is about 7 percent higher than industry averages.

On the web: Daily Nation

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Tags: telkom kenya  orange  Kenya