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Lebara Mobile looks for buyer

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The European ethnic MVNO Lebara Mobile is up for sale. The company confirmed in a statement that it hired RBS to "explore future strategic opportunities". Started in the Netherlands in 2004, Lebara Mobile now operates in seven European markets and Australia, targeting local immigrant and ethnic communities with low-price international calls.
It recently added postpaid plans and launched a music portal in the UK. The company reported revenues for 2010 of EUR 564.6 million, up over 50 percent from a year earlier. Pretax profit improved to EUR 21.1 million from EUR 8.8 million, and the number of employees more than doubled, from around 500 FTEs at the beginning of 2010 to 1,300 at the start of 2011. The company did not release customer numbers, but said the base grew by 35 percent in 2010. Its website claims over 3 million active customers for the mobile service. Separately, UK-based Mobile magazine reports that two Asian operators looked at buying Lebara, but no agreement was reached.

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