South Africa’s mobile operator Cell C has put core parts of its business up for sale in a bid to narrow losses and reduce its debt, TechCentral writes. According to people familiar with the matter, Cell C’s fibre-optic network and base of billed customers are now up for grabs, and the operator is also said to have entered talks to sell access to some of its wireless frequencies to larger rival MTN Group. The asset sale has reportedly attracted interest from MTN, Vodacom Group and Telkom.
TeleGeography notes that Cell C had accumulated debt of ZAR9 billion by the end of 2018, while its full-year losses increased to ZAR8 billion (ZAR656 million in 2017). Cell C emerged from a protracted debt-restructuring rescue plan in August 2017, with Blue Label Telecoms taking a 45% stake in the company for ZAR5.5 billion, while 3C Telecommunications – itself owned by Oger Telecom (45.6%), the Employee Believe Trust (29.4%), and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) grouping CellSAf (25%) – retained a 30% stake. The remainder was split between Net1 (15%) and Cell C management and staff (10%). The restructuring process aimed to slash Cell C’s debt to ZAR6 billion (from ZAR20 billion), though majority owner Blue Label fell short of its target by ZAR3 billion.