Telecel could lose licence if foreign ownership not reduced

22 Jan 2015

Zimbabwean mobile operator Telecel is once again under fire for failing to comply with the country’s empowerment laws which require local investors to own a majority stake in the company. Telecoms regulator POTRAZ is now threatening to withdraw the operator’s licence unless it moves to restructure its ownership. Telecel’s operating concession was renewed in August 2013 on the condition that it met the empowerment requirements, but the watchdog is becoming increasingly exasperated by the firm’s failure to comply, Nehanda Radio writes.

At present, 40% of Telecel is held by Empowerment Corporation (E Corp), itself comprising Kestrel (23%), IEG (18%), Indigenous Business Women’s Organisation (17%), National Miners’ Association (14%), Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (14%) and Magamba eChimurenga (14%). The remaining 60% is owned by Telecel Globe, which is part of Egypt-based Global Telecom Holding (GTH, renamed in September 2013 from Orascom Telecom Holding), itself a 51.9%-owned division of Russian-controlled, Netherlands-headquartered Vimpelcom. Vimpelcom announced in December 2014 that it was looking for a buyer for its stake in Telecel but it has so far attracted little interest.

Zimbabwe, Telecel Zimbabwe