A group consisting of Kinz Telecom and Etisalat Communications of the UAE claims to have won the race to secure a 66.7% stake in Ghana’s second national telecoms operator, Western Telesystems (WESTEL). Dr Salieh El Hassan, Chairman of Kinz International Group, told TeleGeography this week: ‘We would like to inform you [that] Kinz Telecom, one of our Kinz International Group, is winning the WESTEL bidding in Ghana… we will get 66.7% of WESTEL.’ Kinz Telecom also says it has been advised by both the government appointed transactional advisers, NTHC and Databank, and the sector Minister that it has emerged the winner out of the four short-listed bidders, writes the Ghanaian Chronicle. If Kinz Telecom is declared the winner it will end a three-year bidding war for the SNO. It is understood that Kinz has offered more than the USD65 million asking price and has pledged to absorb the company’s debts and to invest USD500 million in cash and equipment and ‘replicate a full-blown social responsibility agenda on women, education, youth, sports development and technology transfer’.
Purchasing the WESTEL stake will also give Kinz the prized asset of its E-Marine submarine cable laying unit which builds fibre-optic networks and manufactures telephone smart cards. Kinz Telecom chairman Nana Martinson said ‘we were interested in acquiring WESTEL because we have solid faith in the future of the Ghanaian economy and trust in the country’s national telecommunications policy’. Martinson also revealed that his company is teaming up with Huawei as equipment suppliers and manufacturers.