Telecom Namibia yesterday announced that the Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has formally cleared its acquisition of the country’s financially struggling second-placed mobile operator Powercom (trading as Leo). The transaction was approved by the Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) in late-April 2012 on condition that Telecom made changes to mutual state ownership/management structures with cellular market leader Mobile Telecommunications (MTC), which it has complied with. Extra compliance conditions were subsequently added by the CRAN, which would have required the privatisation of a stake in Telecom Namibia as a pre-requisite to the deal, but the regulator’s ruling was overturned in court in late-September. As confirmed by Telecom’s press release, it can now complete its transaction with Guinea Fowl Investments (a joint holding company of UK-registered, southern African investment fund Investec Asset Management and South African banking group Nedbank Group) to acquire a 100% equity stake in Powercom.
Frans Ndoroma, MD of Telecom Namibia, said that the acquisition of Leo will see mobile users across the country ‘benefiting from increased investment in even better mobile services and new technology in the future… Our immediate focus from today will be on improving services, products, marketing, and network coverage… With Powercom as part of the Telecom Namibia group, it will serve as an active platform to introduce innovative fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) services and using the all-powerful Telecom Namibia infrastructure for backhauling and transport capability.’ Telecom Namibia’s chief strategy officer Theo Klein will assume the role of interim CEO at Leo with immediate effect.
The company’s press release continued that it is ‘committed to accelerating the growth of Leo and increasing its share in the mobile market. This represents a great opportunity that will allow us to fully integrate the new acquisition… In addition, this transaction delivers significant customer, shareholder and public benefits… from the combination of these two companies with complementary network technologies and operations. Telecom Namibia is confident in its ability to execute a seamless integration, and with additional spectrum and network capabilities, the company can better face competition, build for the future and help meet customers’ demands for FMC services.’