On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Mozambique’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Paulo Zucula, has revealed plans to partly privatise incumbent mobile operator, mCel. According to the plan at least 5% of company shares will be made exclusively available to Mozambicans, with the possibility of further sales to the international investment community.

- The newly reconstituted technical board of the Nigeria Telecommunications Ltd (NITEL) has directed that an audit of the assets of the company be undertaken and a status report submitted to verify allegations of asset stripping levelled against the immediate past owner/management of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc.

- South Africa's mobile phone operator MTN said on Wednesday that the strong depreciation of Nigeria's naira against the dollar had increased the cost of doing business at its Nigerian unit. MTN took out a loan worth $2 billion from a consortium of banks early last year to expand its mobile network in Nigeria, with 80 percent of the funds paid out in naira. The naira shed more than 20 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar at the start of the year largely because of declining world oil prices, the main source of foreign earnings in Africa's top oil producer.

- Egyptian newspaper Al Borsa reports that Telecom Egypt is studying the possibility of bidding for a stake in Moroccan mobile operator Medi Telecom (Meditel) recently put up for sale by Portugal Telecom, as well as a stake in the company which Spain’s Telefonica is considering selling. The two stakes together represent over 64% of equity in the GSM operator, which also offers corporate fixed line services.

- The government of Rwanda is planning to sell its 10% stake in mobile operator MTN Rwanda on the country’s bourse during the next financial year, according to Rwandan daily The New Times.

­The cost of buying a mobile phone in Kenya has dropped sharply after the government waived the import duty on mobile phones. Kenya's Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta cut the 16% VAT on new phone handsets in the government's budget statement. In parallel, ZAIN Managing Director Rene Meza has lauded the Finance Minister Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta ’s move to lower the cost of owning infrastructure by increasing the wear and tear allowance on telecommunication equipment from 12.5% to 20%, terming it as an incentive that will encourage investments as investors will able to depreciate their assets at a higher rate.