France Telecom-Orange today announced the acquisition of 100% of Elettra, a subsidiary of the Telecom Italia group specialized in the laying and maintenance of submarine cables for the telecommunications industry. This transaction, which involves the acquisition of two cable ships, reinforces France Telecom's position as a major cable ship operator. The Group currently operates a fleet of four vessels through its subsidiary France Telecom Marine.
Elettra has considerable experience in cable maintenance and the construction of new submarine networks. The two cable ships that have been acquired by France Telecom are the Certamen, which is berthed in the Mediterranean basin, and the Teliri, which is specialized in laying new cables around the world for major telecommunications operators. The employees of Elettra and the crews of the two vessels will be unaffected by this transaction. A third vessel, dedicated to laying oil pipelines, was sold by Elettra to a third party prior to the closing of this transaction. After this sale, Elettra has been valued at an enterprise value of 20 million euros.
France Telecom Marine, a fully-owned subsidiary of France Telecom, currently operates four cable ships and is one of the leading players in the industry. Three ships are dedicated to maintenance services in the Mediterranean basin, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. The René Descartes, the flagship of France Telecom Marine, is specialized in laying new telecommunications submarine systems worldwide.
Together France Telecom Marine and Elettra will strengthen the ability of the France Telecom group to service telecommunications operators mainly in Europe, in the Mediterranean basin and around Africa. France Telecom's submarine cable activity also plays an important role in the Group's overall ambitions to improve network accessibility across the world and to meet customer expectations for improved quality of service across its global network.
This is particularly relevant in Africa, where the Group now operates in close to twenty countries. In this region, the Group has played an active role in the creation of several major networks including the LION cable linking Madagascar, Mauritius and Réunion – soon to be extended to Kenya with the LION2 cable –, the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), and the ACE cable that will provide 23 West African countries from 2012 with efficient and affordable access to international networks. France Telecom Marine and Elettra will be participating in the installation of LION2 and ACE.