Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of president Eduardo dos Santos, is reportedly interested in acquiring telecoms operator Telecel Zimbabwe, The Independent reports. Dos Santos, who has fortune worth over USD3.3 billion, has interests in a number of telecoms businesses in Angola and Portugal, including a controlling stake in Portuguese cable TV and telecom firm Nos (formerly Zon Optimus/Zon Multimedia).
As reported by CommsUpdate in February 2015, the government of Zimbabwe cancelled an agreement with mobile operator Telecel under which it had been allowed to operate since June 2013 without paying in full for its USD137.5 million concession. While authorities stressed that Telecel was not having its licence revoked completely and would not be forced to cease operations, the firm is now under increasing pressure to find new investors to replace existing shareholders Vimpelcom (60%) and Empowerment Corp (E-Corp, 40%), both of which have said they wish to offload their stakes. For several years the Zimbabwean government had attempted to bring Telecel into line with legislation limiting foreign ownership to 49%, but Russia-based Vimpelcom had been unable to forge an agreement with local investors, and is now looking to sell off its entire 60% interest in the cellco. A report from local newspaper the Sunday Mail suggested that the government could be looking to take control of Telecel from Vimpelcom and E-Corp with a view to selling off the firm to a third party.