Tigo Sri Lanka, having commenced its operations in 1989, is now, with a market share of 21%, the second-largest mobile phone operator in Sri Lanka. As at September 2009, the company had 2.25 million subscribers. Furthermore, both Sri Lanka as a country and Tigo Sri Lanka as a company provide opportunities for further growth. Mobile phone penetration in Sri Lanka is 52% and in March 2009 Tigo Sri Lanka was licensed to offer third generation services in addition to the second generation services historically provided by the company and on which its success has been built.
Etisalat's acquisition of Tigo Sri Lanka reflects its balanced approach to investment. Etisalat already has existing investments in Asia including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia and India, markets which are among the fastest growing in the telecommunications sector.
Commenting on Etisalat's latest acquisition, Etisalat Chairman, Mohammed Hassan Omran said: "This new acquisition is a clear example of Etisalat's international investments strategy of seizing distinctive growth opportunities and maximizing value to shareholders."
He added: "Entering the Sri Lankan telecom market is a logical addition to our interests in the Asia continent. The acquisition promises attractive returns as the Sri Lankan Government is increasing its effort to promote foreign investment in all sectors.
The acquisition is of a mature operator with a strong reputation for its good network and quality of service. It also offers great opportunities for synergy with our other operations in the region, particularly in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and India. We also plan to invest in this company to ensure that it has the dynamism to take the leading position in the market in the next few years and that it continues its effective role in the development and growth of the telecommunications sector in Sri Lanka."