The government of Zimbabwe is set to assume legacy debts of more than USD380 million from state-owned incumbent fixed line operator TelOne. The debts stem from loans taken out by TelOne’s predecessor, the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC), between 1992 and 1997, but the telco has been unable to meet the full payments since then. A report from The Zimbabwe Daily says that interest and arrears charges now total over USD206 million, while the main balance of the loans stands at USD177.5 million.
Creditors include: Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund (OECF) JBIC III of Japan (USD152.4 million); BNP of France (USD36.2 million); Eksportfinans of Norway (USD13.8 million); Kreditanstalt Fur Wiederaufbau (KFW 11A) of Germany (USD12.6 million); Eximbank (Sumitomo II) of Japan (USD9.5 million); and Tunisia-based African Development Bank (USD8.9 million).
TelOne managing director Chipo Mtasa said: ‘We have been made aware that the Cabinet passed a resolution to waiver our legacy loans, and we are currently in the process of engaging the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in terms of finalising the transaction.’
The government is looking at a plan to merge TelOne with its mobile sister company NetOne and selling off a stake to a strategic investor, as well as offering shares to local investors. The state is expected to retain a 26% interest in the combined company.