Govt, Nssa pen Telecel agreement

HARARE - National Social Security Authority (Nssa) will relinquish its controlling stake in Telecel Zimbabwe (TZ) to Zarnet after three years, following a recent agreement inked to this effect, it has emerged.

The State-run pension fund’s general manager Elizabeth Chitiga on Friday said Nssa and Zarnet had agreed on the deal’s terms following negotiations to restructure the financing deal that saw Zarnet acquire 100 percent equity in Telecel International — which owns 60 percent of TZ — through a transfer of rights and buy-back agreement.

“The agreements have been signed to that effect… As the chairman has previously stated negotiations were going on and I am sure he also spoke about it in his last quarterly update,” Chitiga said on the side-lines of a media cocktail.

The recent development follows an earlier announcement by Nssa chairperson, Robin Vela, stating that the parties were in advanced negotiations.

“The two parties are in advanced negotiations in relation to restructuring the transaction; wherein from a Nssa perspective it will culminate in an acceptable equity return and enhanced security arrangements, whilst the Zarnet perspective translates to a feasible and favourable financing structure.

“The effect of the new dispensation is that Zarnet will exercise the buy-back over a three-year period on terms enshrined in a new agreement involving a number of related-parties to Zarnet,” Vela said, in his fourth quarter 2016 update.

Zarnet’s acquisition of the TZ stake was achieved through a mezzanine structure valued at $30 million, provided by Nssa, after government came up with a $10 million deposit in the $40 million deal.

Marred in controversy, the transaction gives government controlling stake in the country’s third largest mobile network operator to the little known government Internet provider, Zarnet.

Reports last year indicated that Nssa was not “entirely happy” about the prospect of losing out on an equity holding in TZ — or just playing the role of a financier and — where it sees huge opportunities for rich pickings, and acquiring an asset that can add value to its policy holders.

Information Communication Technology minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, recently said as majority shareholder, government was now moving to fully acquire the network and “sanitise it” with a possible private listing on the horizon.

“Efforts to sanitise the ‘shareholder wars’ and eventually make the business private through listing or selling, et cetera continue.  Advisors will advise us which route to take,” he said.

Comments (1)

This issue is ill advised and it stinks corruption. It appears as though there is a plot to offload this company to some preferred individuals with connections in high places. It does not make sense for the cash strapped government to splash such huge sums on such a company when it is failing to capitalise its two telecoms institutions, namely Tel One and Net One. It boggles the mind what logic this is. We are watching closely and very soon the truth will come out. We are not stupid.

MR COOPER - 30 May 2017

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