Zain to relinquish state telco shares, minister says

21 Jul 2009

Zain Tanzania is to give up its 35% equity stake in state-backed national PTO Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL), according to Reuters quoting the nation’s minister for technology as saying. ‘Recently, Celtel has shown interest in exiting. But there’s need for consultation before that happens,’ said Peter Msolla, Tanzania’s minister for communications, science and technology. Mr Msolla’s comments came during a budget presentation to the national Assembly in Dodoma. The cellco was originally known as Celtel when Netherlands-based Celtel International bought a stake in TTCL in 2004; the Tanzanian government retained the original name in its records. The minister went on to say that in a meeting last week to discuss firms owning shares in state-run corporations on the government’s behalf, Zain, TTCL and Consolidated Holdings Corp discussed the redistribution of state assets. ‘In principle, they have agreed to end the partnership and Celtel exits. Celtel’s 35% shareholding will revert to the government. We will continue talks on how to offload those shares,’ Msolla said. The government holds the other 65% of TTCL, while only last week it said it had reached an agreement with SaskTel International, a subsidiary of Canada’s SaskTel, to end a three-year contract to manage TTCL. The contract, brokered in 2007, was worth up to USD5 million.