On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Zain, whose shareholders voted to lift a cap restricting ownership last Monday, is in talks to sell a stake in its African operations, its chief executive said. Zain is in talks with a number of partners concerning its African assets and "all scenarios are possible", Saad al-Barrak said after an extraordinary shareholder meeting. "There is a demand (for) African assets beyond what we expected. There are a number of partners interested and we are still in preliminary talks," he told reporters. Barrak was quoted by a local newspaper earlier this month as saying Zain was in talks with three major telecoms firms, including one from India.

- Access Kenya’s unaudited results to the end of 30 June 2009 show that its revenues rose to KS1.06 billion, an increase of 55% compared to the KS682 million achieved in the first six months of 2008. This increase was achieved through strong growth in all sectors of the business. Gross profit in absolute terms rose from KS343 milloon in the same period last year KS468 million this year. Gross profit margin in percentage terms fell slightly reflecting a small decrease in the gross margin of the Internet business and the higher proportion of lower margin IT revenues in the mix compared to last year.

- The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has revealed that an equity partner for incumbent fixed line provider Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel) will be selected through an open tender process. In addition, the agency announced that the tender would be open to both local and foreign companies. Prior to the tender it is understood that the ZDA will undertake a study on how best to implement the process. The move comes following the government’s announcement last month that it had approved the sale of a 75% stake in the telco in a bid to save it from collapse; the remaining 25% will be retained by the state. It is expected that the successful winner of the tender will take its stake in Zamtel by January 2009, and it has been estimated that it will cost around USD200 million to capitalise the ailing operator.