Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) announced that it will invest $50 million in Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA)
Following the conclusion of the transaction, GIC and the Virgin Group will be the two biggest single shareholders in VMMEA, alongside prominent global and regional shareholders including, ePlanet Capital, Dolphin International, NTEC and Millennium Private Equity.
Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin, said, "Virgin Mobile is the leading MVNO operator in the Middle East and Africa with operations in Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. We intend to create a large regional mobile telecom player reaching more than 10 million customers. The investment by GIC is an important show of support by an important institutional investor for our ambitious plans."
Rafat Nawawi, CEO of Friendi Mobile, stated, "The investment is important for Jordan operation, as it allows us to increase our investment in Jordan and create more jobs, plus GIC being the investment arm of GCC that is an important partner for Jordan to be more closely integrated with the gulf."
"GIC supports the growth of companies that have innovative and pan-regional business models" said Ibrahim Al-Qadhi, Chief Executive Officer at GIC. "VMMEA has such a model and targets a niche market in telecommunications in the GCC. This is an important sector for the region and VMMEA is the perfect partner for existing mobile operators."
Mikkel Vinter, CEO and Founder of VMMEA, added, "We are honoured by the trust shown in Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa by an esteemed financial institution like GIC. The Management of VMMEA look forward to working closely with GIC in rolling out the Virgin Mobile brand across the Middle East & Africa. I am delighted that Mohamed Eissa, Head of Technology and Telecom Investments at GIC and Fahad Al-Nusef, VP for Technology and Telecom Investments at GIC will join the Board of VMMEA."
"We believe that the next phase of liberalisation in the telecom sector supports the growth of MVNOs and we are thrilled to make this strategic investment in VMMEA. The company has a great track record of partnering with regional telecom operators to deliver value to mobile subscribers. We look forward to working with the management team in VMMEA to support the further expansion of its existing operations as well as entering new markets across the region," said Mohamed Eissa, Head of Technology & Telecom Investments at GIC.
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