ECONET Wireless Global, the parent company of Econet Zimbabwe, has acquired the assets of Russian global telecoms operator, VimpelCom for $65 million in Burundi and Central African Republic. VimpelCom, the parent company of Telecel Globe, which owns Telecel Zimbabwe, announced via a press release yesterday that it has sold all its shareholding in Telecel Globe to Econet Wireless Global for $65 million.
The deal, however, does not include Telecel Zimbabwe, which remains 60 percent owned by VimpelCom and 40 percent by other local shareholders.
Andrew Davies, Chief Financial Officer of VimpelCom, commented: “We’ve previously outlined our value agenda, in which our operations are reviewed, to assess their future value to the Group. The decision to sell our operations in CAR and Burundi,is a result of this process.”
Econet Wireless Group CEO, Craig Fitzgerald confirmed the statement on the transaction, made by VimpelCom to the Cairo Stock Exchange.
“Yes, I can confirm that our Mauritius registered telecoms holding company, Econet Wireless Global, has acquired VimpelCom’s two operations in Burundi and Central African Republic,” said Fitzgerald.
Econet Wireless Global has operations and investments in telecommunications businesses throughout Africa, the UK, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
It also holds the controlling interest in Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).
Fitzgerald said the acquisition did not affect ,in any way, trading by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.
“Econet Wireless Global owns a majority stake in the Zimbabwe operation, and it isn’t the other way round. I know many people make this mistake of thinking that because our Zimbabwean subsidiary is listed, it is also the holding company of all our businesses. That isn’t the case. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe doesn’t own businesses outside Zimbabwe,” he said.
He said Econet Wireless Global is not a listed holding company and had no plans to do so.
In terms of what exactly Econet’s $65 million buys, U-com or Leo, what Telecel is called in Burundi, has 1,57 million subscribers and Telecel CAR has 400,000 subscribers.
Even though Burundi has 1,57 million subscribers, the average revenue per user of those subscribers as of the second quarter this year was $3, while that of CAR was higher at $6.
VimpelCom, an international telecoms company operating in 14 countries and headquartered in Amsterdam, is one of the world’s largest integrated telecommunications services operators providing voice and data services through a range of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe.
VimpelCom’s operations around the globe cover territory with a total population of approximately 739 million people.
Econet Wireless Global is also the parent company of Liquid Telecom, which operates Africa’s largest satellite and fibre optic system, with the latter spanning 12 countries.
Econet Wireless Global is itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Econet Wireless Group, a privately held group, controlled by leading African industrialist, Strive Masiyiwa, who is based in South Africa.
The group’s interests extend beyond telecoms, into areas like renewable energy, financial services and hospitality.
It also owns the majority interest in US based Seldon Technologies, which produces nano-carbon filtration systems.