Telecel takeover inches closer

Martin Kadzere  
Government is finalising an offer to buy Empowerment Corporation’s 40 percent stake in Telecel Zimbabwe, sources familiar with developments have said.

“It is now clear that the Government wants to buy out the shareholding owned by the Empowerment Corporation,” said one source.

“Now the Ministry of ICT (Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services) is putting together the offer and the announcement will be made soon.

“Thereafter, it will be up to EC shareholders to accept the offer or to reject it. But EC is willing to sell to the Government and the ministry is going through its internal processes.”

In a recent interview, ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said Government was working on an offer to buy out EC, but declined to provide details saying it was still premature to do                                                            so.

“It is something that we are working on but I will prefer to comment once the offer if finalised,” said the                                                        minister.

Sources said the offer could be in the range of between US$22 million and US$26 million.

Government has been courting the National Social Security Authority (NSSA)to fund the transaction, and its chairman,  Mr Robin Vela, told The Sunday Mail Business recently that “we will consider (providing the money), but we are not there yet”.

One of Telecel’s founding shareholders, Dr James Makamba, recently sold his stake in EC to a local consortium owned by businessman Mr George Manyere and lawyer Mr Gerald Mlotshwa for an undisclosed amount.

Another major shareholder is Dr Jane Mutasa.

Government, through Zarnet, gained the majority shareholding in Telecel last year after acquiring Telecel International from Global Telecoms in a transaction worth US$40 million.

Telecel International owned 60 percent of Telecel Zimbabwe.

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