Wananchi secures USD57.5 million to bankroll fibre expansion; Liberty Global contributes funding

17 May 2011

Kenyan cableco Wananchi Group, which offers triple-play services using the ‘Zuku’ brand, has announced that it has raised USD57.5 million worth of growth capital from a group of international investors. The firm intends to use the funds to extend deployment of its Nairobi-based fibre network to other parts of the country; Wananchi has reiterated its intention to extend its triple-play product offerings outside of its domestic market, with Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia all targeted for deployment by 2015.

Interestingly, US-based firm Liberty Global Inc (LGI) – which owns cable operations across Europe and Latin America – is one of the key investors behind the latest round of financing; the investment marks LGI’s first cableco-related activity in Africa. Other new investors include Oppenheimer Funds and Sarona Asset Management, a Canadian emerging markets fund manager known for its ‘impact investments’. Existing Wananchi investors include leading private equity firm East Africa Capital Partners (EACP) and Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), a Pan-African private equity firm.

Wananchi CEO Richard Bell commented: ‘Our vision is to become the leading pay-TV, broadband internet and VoIP services provider in East Africa. We welcome the support of new investors Liberty Global and Sarona as well as continued support from our existing shareholders, EACP and Emerging Capital Partners and look forward to working together to achieve our collective goal’.

Kenya, Liberty Global (incl. LGI), Wananchi Group (Zuku)