HARARE, November 18 (The Source) – Amsterdam-headquartered telecoms giant VimpelCom on Wednesday announced that it had agreed to sell its controlling stake in Telecel Zimbabwe to the government of Zimbabwe for $40 million.
VimpelCom, which owns 60 percent of Telecel Zimbabwe— the country’s third largest mobile telecoms firm with over 2.4 million subscribers — last December put its stake in the mobile operator on the market and received a bid from a foreign investor but government blocked the transaction on the basis that it had not received any capital gains tax from previous transactions involving Telecel.
“VimpelComs’ 51.9 percent owned subsidiary Global Telecom Holding S.A.E. (“GTH”) has entered into an agreement with ZARNet (Private) Limited to sell its stake in Telecel International Limited for $40 million. Telecel International owns 60 percent of Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd. Transfer of ownership to ZARNet will occur after customary conditions are satisfied,” reads the statement.
ZARNet is wholly owned by the government through the Ministry of Information & Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services. It was established in 1997 as a government Internet Service Provider (GISP).
The parastatal has no experience in telecommunications and lists on its website that it offers ICT solutions and e-learning platforms.
Government already controls another mobile operator in NetOne, which has 3,3 million subscribers according to latest official data as well as fixed line operator, TelOne.