MTN Group mum on reported expansion to Zimbabwe
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE MTN Group is tight-lipped over the reported acquisition of Zimbabwe’s embattled Telecel’s operating licence.
Approached for comment on the said deal, MTN Group Executive for Corporate Affairs, Chris Maroleng, was non-committal.
“Our response is that MTN does not comment on market speculation,” Maroleng said in response to enquiries from CAJ News Africa.
However, impeccable sources close the MTN Group and the Zimbabwe government negotiators insisted that the deal had sailed through arguing it only awaited official announcement.
Informants close to the deal told CAJ News Africa that Zimbabwe Deputy President, Phelekezela Mphoko, and MTN Group Chief Executive Office, Sifiso Dabengwa, concluded the deal.
However, while figures were not disclosed it is widely believed the government of Zimbabwe would get half of the total shareholding.
This appears in line with the country’s indigenisation policies, which demand foreign-owned firms to cede at least half of their stakes to government.
Comments could not be obtained from Zimbabwe’s ICT Minister, Supa Mandiwandira, at the time of going to press.
A group of Zimbabwean business people, among them millionaire, James Makamba, and businesswoman, Jane Mutasa, own significant stakes in Telecel Zimbabwe. Middle East firm, Vimplecom owns 60 percent of the mobile telco.
Government recently cancelled the firm’s licence after reasons ranging from disputes among shareholders and breaching licence renewal payment and breaching indigenisation regulations.
Telecel Zimbabwe is the country’s second largest telecommunications operator with 2,5 million subscribers.
– CAJ News
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