Altech said to be in East Africa deal talks


JSE-listed Altech has appointed Shahab Meshki as new CEO of its struggling East Africa business Kenya Data Networks. At the same time, the technology group is reported to be in talks to buy Kenyan IT firm Symphony in a deal that could be worth as much as US$60m.

An unnamed source told Reuters that Altech has been in talks with Symphony “for several months and is now nearing the end of its due diligence”. According to the wire service, Altech is like to pay between $50m and $60m for the company, which also has operations in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.

According to Symphony’s website, the company delivers IT solutions focusing on consulting, training, infrastructure and maintenance. Meanwhile, Meshki’s appointed, which is effective from 1 November, comes just weeks after Altech CEO Craig Venter said he had replaced the management team in East Africa to deal with the underperformance of the operation, which dragged down the group’s interim results for the six months to the end of August.

According to Altech, Meshki has 20 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries, having started his career with Siemens’ automation division where he was in charge of software and hardware development and later led marketing and sales of network analysers.

In 1995, he joined Cisco, and in 2002 moved to Kenya to establish the US company’s presence in East Africa.