Prince Sunduzani, Business Reporter
AN AMERICAN business magazine, Forbes has listed Zimbabwe’s business mogul, Mr Strive Masiyiwa as the country’s first billionaire since the adoption of a multicurrency system in 2009.
Zimbabwe adopted a multi-currency regime in February 2009 to tame the hyperinflation environment that saw the price of goods and services reaching unprecedented levels.
In its recent report, the magazine indicated that Mr Masiyiwa who is founder of Zimbabwe’s largest telecommunications company, Econet is worth an estimated $1.7 billion.
“Zimbabwe gets its first billionaire this year: telecom magnate Mr Strive Masiyiwa, who chairs the Econet Group.
“Shares of Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe have surged in value over the past year,” said the Forbes report.
“Mr Masiyiwa owns more than half of that company. He also has a majority stake in fibre optic firm Liquid Telecom, which raised $700 million in a bond offering in July 2017. Forbes estimates Mr Masiyiwa net worth at $1.7 billion.”
Econet Group is a Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone company that also has investments in financial services, insurance, e-commerce, renewable energy, education, Coca-Cola bottling, hospitality and payment gateway solutions.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has invested $1.2 billion in different projects across the country with its subscriber base clocking nine million in 2014.
In its results for the half year ended August, 31, 2017 the company said it realised significant growth in both revenue and profits.
Revenue for the period was up by 17 percent to $353 million while profit was up 228 percent to $49 million from $14.9 million prior year comparative.
The results also reflect the reduction in the group’s finance costs following its $130 million capital raise which was used to pay off its foreign debts.
Econet managed to reduce its finance costs during the reported period by $10.7 million after repaying its US dollar debt with the funds raised from its rights offer, which was concluded earlier in the year.
In the first half of 2016, the company paid $15.2 million in finance costs.
Data, EcoCash and other non-voice products during the period under review constituted 63 percent of the company’s total revenues. – @PrinceNkosy102.