On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- The debt of ailing Nigerian incumbent operator Nitel will be shared between the telco’s new buyer and the federal government according to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu. The chairman also revealed that the winning bidder of a 75% stake in Nitel will be declared by the end of November, and that interested parties have already been shortlisted. 14 companies have reportedly expressed an interest in Nitel, including Etisalat Nigeria, MTNL of India, Globacom, MTN Nigeria, Telefonica of Spain and MetroPCS Communications.

- Huge Group is pleased to announce that its dispute with the JSE has ended after the JSE announced it had imposed a public censure on the company relating to the purchase of derivatives contracts in October 2008. Huge Group is also pleased that no fine was imposed on the company. There will be no costs to the company relating to the fines imposed on directors Anton Potgieter and James Herbst in their personal capacities, nor will there be any costs to the company should Potgieter and Herbst take these penalties on appeal.

- EppixComm, an end-to-end customer care and billing solution provider, last week announced a partnership with Business Logic Systems, a specialist in customer intelligence, marketing automation and customer loyalty solutions for mobile network operators. Working together the two companies will help African mobile operators turn their prepaid customer data into a powerful marketing tool that can help increase retention and loyalty.

- A new World Bank report says that regional integration will help lower infrastructure costs. The report dubbed "Africa's Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation" from a study conducted in 24 African economies including Rwanda, indicates that the high cost of infrastructure services in the region is partly attributable to disconnected national boundaries.

- BCX released results for the past 15 months having moved its financial year end from 31 May to 31 August. Normalised operating profit margins were at 4.0% for the period, up from 3,6% for the year to May 2008, and gross profit was marginally higher at 26,6% of revenue. Headline earnings per share however dropped to 37.5 cents. "Customers have become increasingly price sensitive due to the economic slowdown," says Frost & Sullivan ICT analyst Mpho Moyo. "IT infrastructure spend has declined and investment decisions have been deferred, which has impacted on the local ICT market."