According to Regis Gatarayiha, director general of the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), a number of telecoms companies are interested in purchasing the assets of local operator Rwandatel, in a move aimed at raising funds to pay off the firm’s debts. In a phone interview to local newspaper Business Times, Gatarayiha named Rwandatel’s former majority shareholder, Libyan government investment vehicle LAP Green Network, as one of the companies interested in bidding for the assets. ‘They [LAP Green] approached us with a view of participating in the liquidation process and it is possible they will participate like any other potential buyers,’ Gatarayiha noted. Without providing further information, he added that the Libyan company is not the only potential buyer, and revealed that ‘the highest bidder is expected to take over the assets.’
Last year the commercial court in Nyarungenge ordered the liquidation of Rwandatel, which had its mobile licence revoked in April 2011 due to its failure to meet licence obligations. ‘The liquidation strategy to be adopted is to sell the business assets to another player offering telecommunication services. The move will ensure maximisation of the value of assets and enable continuation of service delivery without interruption,’ Rwandatel’s administrator, Richard Mugisha, commented at the time. The operator’s fixed telephony and internet service provider (ISP) services remain operational as the two services are provided under a separate concession, but Gatarayiha could not guarantee that RURA would automatically award a GSM licence to the successful buyer of Rwandatel’s assets. ‘Currently we have three licensed mobile operators, so we have to decide whether the country needs the fourth licence before the process of granting a new license can commence,’ he stated.