Namibian - Leo takeover gets conditional approval from comptroller

Telecoms

The Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) has issued a decision approving Telecom Namibia’s proposed takeover of cellular operator Powercom (trading as Leo) provided the buyer meets certain conditions aimed at ensuring fair competition in the market. The NaCC stipulated that the shareholding structure of Telecom Namibia and the country’s mobile market leader Mobile Telecommunications (MTC) must be ‘separate and independent’ within two years (by 24 April 2014).

The state investment holding company Namibia Post and Telecommunications Holdings (NPTH) currently owns 100% of Telecom Namibia and a 66% stake in MTC, which is part-owned by Portugal Telecom; if the takeover of Leo goes ahead with existing ownership structures, the government will effectively control the entire mobile sector, in which Telecom is currently the third, and smallest, player.

In addition, the NaCC said that no director or employee of Telecom Namibia may serve as a director of NPTH, and that the same applies in the case of MTC, ‘in the interest of preventing any collusive or coordinated behaviour that would undermine the free and spirited competition for all entities in that sector.’