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MTN Bid for Majority Stake in Zimbabwe's Telecel Said to Meet Harare Resistance

  • Gibbs Dube

MTN has been positioning to invest billions of dollars in the Egyptian telecoms giant Orascom, which holds a 60 percent stake in Telecel through Telecel Globe

MTN Group of South Africa, which seeks a controlling stake in Telecel Zimbabwe, has reportedly hit a wall with the Harare government signaling it will only be allowed to acquire up to 40 percent of the mobile provider.

MTN has been positioning to invest billions of dollars in the Egyptian telecoms giant Orascom, which holds a 60 percent stake in Telecel through a subsidiary, Telecel Globe. But that deal now looks at risk.

Telecel Zimbabwe Chief Commercial Officer Anwar Soussa told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube his company is in talks with the Posts and Telecommunications Regulator in an effort to rescue the deal with MTN.

Soussa said it is unlikely that Zimbabwe will influence the outcome of the lucrative deal as investment in Algeria plays a crucial role in MTN’s decision to purchase shares in Orascom. “I don’t think that Zimbabwe is going to be the deal broker in this case but Algeria can play a crucial role in this proposed investment,” he said.

Economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said the MTN-Orascom deal is being sabotaged by individuals who hope to acquire a majority stake in Telecel. “There are some people I can not mention who are busy trying to bring down this deal because they want to have a major stake in Telecel Zimbabwe,” said Ngwenya.

Reports say the deal is worth some US$10 billion.

Telecel is the second-largest mobile provider in the Zimbabwean market with subscribers independently estimated at 600,000, trailing Econet with 3.6 million, and ahead of state-run NetOne with 500,000.

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