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Econet Global buys Telecel East Africa operations
20/10/2014 00:00:00
by Business Reporter
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ECONET Wireless Global has acquired the assets of Russian global telecoms operator, Vimpelcom, in in Burundi and Central African Republic for about US$65 million.

Vimpelcom confirmed the deal Monday saying it was part of a strategic review of its assets worldwide.

In a statement the group said its subsidiary Global Telecom Holding had sold its entire 100 per cent stake in Telecel Globe Limited, which owns U-COM in Burundi and Telecel CAR in Central African Republic, to Econet Wireless Global Limited.

Vimpelcom also owns a majority shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe but this would not be affected by the deal with Econet.

Saddled with more than US$20 billion of debt, Vimpelcom last month also sold its operations in Canada, having previously divested assets in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Econet Wireless Global chief executive Craig Fitzgerald confirmed the Vimpelcom statement which was made 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.

The group 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 the Zimbabwe unit.

"Econet Wireless Global owns a majority stake in the Zimbabwe operation, and it is not the other way round,” he said.

“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 is not the case.  Econet Wireless Zimbabwe does not own businesses outside Zimbabwe.”

He said Econet Wireless Global is not a listed holding company and had no plans to do so.

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 telecoms entrepreneur, Strive Masiyiwa, who is based in the United Kingdom.


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.

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