Telecom Namibia keen to maintain stake in SA’s Neotel

28 May 2012

Telecom Namibia has no plans to divest its 12.3% stake in Neotel, South Africa’s second national operator (SNO), despite not having received any returns on its NAD429 million (USD50.05 million) investment thus far. The Namibian.com.na has quoted Oiva Angula, Telecom’s senior manager for corporate communications, who concedes that such an investment takes a long time to bring in dividends, whilst also pointing out that expanding the network, building infrastructure and gaining customers is a time-consuming venture. Namibia’s minister of information and communication technology, Joel Kaapanda, added that an investment of this nature does not always provide immediate returns, which was not Telecom Namibia’s expectation: ‘It goes through various stages of financial outcomes; Telecom Namibia cannot be condemned for making the investment’.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, India’s Tata Communications is the controlling shareholder in Neotel, with a 61.5% stake. For its part, Telecom Namibia holds its shares in the company through CommuniTel, a former 75:25 joint venture between Telecom and Mkonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA); September 2011 saw the two partners enter into an agreement whereby MKMVA’s share of the JV was transferred to Telecom Namibia at no cost.