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Helios Investment Partners Acquires Multilinks

By on November 18, 2011

Helios Investment Partners (HIP) formally announced its acquisition of 100 per cent equity interest in the company from its previous shareholder, Telkom South Africa.

HIP, one of the largest Africa-focused private investment firms, with assets under its management in excess of $1.9 billion, said after resolving the issues battle that trailed Multilink’s formal acquisition by another Code Division Multiple Access operator in Nigeria, decided to formally announce the taken over after reaching an agreement.

Speaking at the media unveiling of the new MultiLinks in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman, Martins Dirk, who was silent about the total investment package HIP paid to acquire the company, said the belief was that with the 100 per cent acquisition by HIP, MultiLinks would be repositioned to deliver better services it was known for.

According to him, the focus of transformation and expansion would be to consolidate on Multi-Links two service business units, namely; “the mobile business utilizing CDMA technology with more than one million subscribers and the fibre optic network offering, which provides national transmission capacity and limited metro and last mile connectivity.”

He revealed that, significant investment, including total capital investment in excess of $1 billion has been made into this network, increasing the footprint of the network more than six fold over the last four years.

According to him, MultiLinks constructed its terrestrial fibre optic network connecting 21 of Nigeria’s 26 states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja at a cost of over $150 million, stressing that the fibre optic network spanning 8,232km provides access to several circa tower sites across several major cities in Nigeria.

Explaining further, the Chief Executive Officer, Demola Eleso, said ‘MultiLinks’ business is currently being refocused to achieve improved and cost efficient performance. MultiLinks is still in Nigerian market and currently focusing on serving our customers in the 22 service areas including Lagos, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Enugu, Sagamu, among others.”

According to him, Telkom South Africa failed because it tried to be everywhere within a short time, which ordinarily should have been a step after another.

It will be recalled that Telkom South Africa pulled out its investment from Nigeria last year following successive losses, despite several turnaround attempts by the company. It sought to sell Multi Links in order to partly recover its investment, but the celebrated sale of the company to Visafone Communication Nigeria was short-lived, as the court reversed it.

Eleso said lots of damages had been done to MultiLinks network within the period of the acquisition tussle, but noted that the present management team is focused on a quick revamping of the telecommunications firm.

He revealed that less than 20 per cent of the company’s fibre optic network is currently utilised today, “meaning that we still have a lot to offer Nigeria in the area of data service, which has been our major strength for long.”