CRAN, Telecom deny premature Leo takeover

13 Jan 2012

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) is yet to receive a formal application from state-owned incumbent Telecom Namibia for the acquisition of cellco Powercom (Leo), contrary to reports that the former had already begun ‘taking over’ the management of the mobile operator since the start of this year. The Namibian writes that CRAN and the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) responded to the reports by releasing a joint statement reiterating that the ownership deal – agreed in December – is pending the approval of both authorities. Furthermore, the statement reads that while the application for the merger between Telecom and Powercom has been submitted to the NaCC, no such application has reached CRAN. The Namibian reported yesterday that Leo staff were informed in December that they would be under Telecom management from 1 January, but Telecom spokesperson Oiva Angula yesterday issued a press statement saying that reports of the completed takeover are ‘entirely baseless and wrong’, although when asked to confirm the ‘management takeover’ of Leo on Monday, Angula would neither confirm nor deny the speculation, according to The Namibian.

As reported by CommsUpdate, Telecom Namibia agreed to purchase 100% of the country’s second largest mobile operator in mid-December, although it disclosed that legal and regulatory issues would need to be worked through to complete the deal. The merger would result in a duopoly of two majority state-owned operators in the mobile market, which is led by Mobile Telecommunications (MTC). In June 2011 Telecel Globe, part of Orascom Telecom, agreed to sell Powercom (Leo) to UK-registered, southern African investment fund Investec Asset Management and South African banking group Nedbank Group in a cashless deal involving the transfer of the cellco’s USD60 million of debt.