Zimbabwe’s government is set to acquire Telecel. The operator’s shareholders have offered to sell their interests in the business to government, according to News Day.
The government has accepted the offer as it sees this as an opportunity to reorganise the sector, the source from News Day added. Negotiations are currently underway.
Telecel is currently 60%-owned by Russian-backed, Amsterdam-based Vimpelcom, with the remaining 40% held by a consortium of domestic investors under the umbrella of the Empowerment Corporation (E Corp).
The operator was ordered to stop its operations earlier this year for not paying licence fees and contravening a foreign ownership cap of 49%, though it managed to win a high court reprieve which has allowed it to continue operating pending an appeal over the revocation of its licence.
Telecel says it has met all required licence payments under a seven-year instalment plan agreed with sector regulator POTRAZ, though the government argued that POTRAZ had no authority to set up such an arrangement in the first place; the entire board of the regulator was recently dismissed.