Viettel seeks 80% of Telkom Kenya?

18 Nov 2014

The long-running sale of Orange Group’s 70% shareholding in Telkom Kenya has reportedly been complicated by Viettel Group’s intention to secure an additional 10% stake in the telco from the Kenyan Treasury, effectively reducing the government’s 30% stake. According to a report by Standard Media, which cites an unnamed source with knowledge of the matter, there are fears that this 10% stake, or at least a portion of it, will go to a group of powerful local businessmen who are alleged to be looking out for the interests of the Vietnamese group. The local businessmen are also allegedly aiming to assist Viettel push for an extension of all licences held by Telkom Kenya for another 15 years. However, the government has said that Viettel’s demands for the treasury to cede an additional 10% and extend Telkom’s licences are ‘baseless’. Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich told Business Beat that the government would not cede any more of its stake: ‘We won’t give in to [Viettel’s] requests. This is a privatisation issue that is guided by rules and procedures,’ he was quoted as saying.

Kenya, Telkom Kenya, Viettel Group