'Telecel takeover next month'

HARARE - Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Supa Mandiwanzira on Monday said government expects to finalise the acquisition of Telecel Zimbabwe (Telecel) next month.

This comes amid indications that Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped government had breached its contractual obligations to pay $40 million for a 60 percent stake to Nasdaq-listed international communications and technology company, VimpelCom, by March this year.

Mandiwanzira said the current cash-crisis being experienced in the country had stalled progress on Telecel takeover.

“Government has not yet taken control of Telecel. What has basically happened is that government has paid the full amount, $40 million, through Zarnet of course, to VimpelCom,” he told a local radio station.

“Now, part of that money is still stuck here in Zimbabwe but it was paid to the lawyers,  so it is now in the hands of the lawyers and VimpelCom has asked that we assist them transfer this money to Amsterdam or the United Kingdom and that is what we are currently working on so that we complete the transaction,” he added.

The Nyanga South legislator also defended government’s move to acquire Telecel, despite owning another mobile network operator, NetOne.

“What we did not want was a situation where the company was going to be owned by a foreign company, which is why government moved in, with special recognition of our empowerment laws.

“VimpelCom has been understanding throughout the whole process, with the company even extending the transaction deadline when we had funding problems. This shows that the whole transaction has been mutually beneficial,” Mandiwanzira said.

According to the ICT minister, government raised the $40 million from National Social Security Authority, a State-run national pension fund.

Vimpelcom announced in November last year that it had agreed to sell to the government its shares in the southern African nation’s smallest mobile telecommunications company.

The investment in Telecel was done through little known government-owned Internet service provider, Zarnet.

Telecel’s remaining 40 percent is owned by Empowerment Corporation, a group of local shareholders who have also approached Nssa to buy their shares.

“I must say that EC have made an offer for their 40 percent to government, but we also understand that they have approached and offered the stake to other interested parties.

“We have not responded to them because we want to deal with the issue one step at a time,” Mandiwanzira said.

Comments (5)

I believe the gvt must b a policymaker not own and operate businesses The gvt has enough business to do than operate businesses. If th gvt is a good entrepreneur, why can't it start n run its own?? Looks like it's looking for good cash cows ??

Dhewa - 27 July 2016

The foreign owners have been understanding because they are cutting their losses and getting $40M, they could have walked away with nothing. After all the bribes and kick backs have been paid at least they will realise some nominal amount for their investment. Remember the 40% locally owned shares were not paid for, there was no capital contribution from the Mutasa/Zhuwao confederacy. This is also a fix on Makamba for his alleged indiscretions.

Galore - 29 July 2016

hapana kwazvinosvika, ichaparara like NetOne

Gwenzi - 5 August 2016

The bankrupt gvt borrowed $40m from Nssa....to finance th deal??

Dhewa - 14 August 2016

And Robin Vela claims to be managing nssa funds well. What is the point of owning 2 competing except making Econet a very strong company

xoli - 9 March 2017

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