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Voda goes east for $3.5bn acquisitions

Romania and Czech Republic

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Vodafone has confirmed the $3.5bn (£1.8bn) acquisition of two Eastern European mobile phone companies from Telesystem International Wireless, a Canadian holding group.

It is increasing its stake in Romanian firm MobiFon to 99 per cent and is buying 100 per cent of the shares in Oskar Mobil, which operates in the Czech Republic.

Vodafone is also taking on $0.95bn in debts. The deal is expected to add to earnings and is not expected to hit Vodafone's share buyback programme or its credit rating. It must still be approved by TIW shareholders before it can go through.

The takeovers are in line with Vodafone's stated strategy of buying into central and eastern European markets. Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin expects future Vodafone growth to be 80 per cent organic and 20 by acquisition.

MobiFon is Romania's leading operator with 4.9m customers - a 48 per cent market share.

Czech operator Oskar has 1.8m customers, 17 per cent market share, and revenues of $552m.

Vodafone press release is here. ®

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