Race for SNO stake reduced to two runners

16 Nov 2004

The auction for a 26% stake in South Africa’s second national operator (SNO) looks certain to concern just two bidders – India’s Tata Group and South African financial company OMAM – after an unnamed third bidder backed out of proceedings at the weekend. If Tata wins the stake, which is currently held by the government of South Africa, it plans to invest between INR3.5 billion and INR5 billion in developing the new operator’s local and long-distance fixed line portfolio, with Tata’s international wireline subsidiary Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd expected to oversee the South African company’s progress. The remaining shares in the SNO are held by Eskom Enterprises and Transtel (combined 30% stake), Nexus (19%), CommuniTel (12.5%) and Two Consortium (12.5%).