On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Telecom Egypt has mandated Baker & McKenzie Egypt to conduct the due diligence of Nile Online. Telecom Egypt plans to acquire an additional stake in Nile Online estimated at 38.5% to bring its total stake in the company to 65.8%. Nile Online is indebted to Telecom Egypt with an amount of EGP100 million that would be accounted for as part of the deal, if it closes. In a related news item, Telecom Egypt announced that TE Data (93.3% owned subsidiary) signed an interconnection agreement with PCCW Global for sharing of technical and commercial infrastructure to enhance its presence in Asia, Middle Eastern, European and North American telecommunications markets.

- Zimbabwe ECONET Wireless Holdings board chairman Tawanda Nyambirai and company chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni have been acquitted of contravening the Exchange Control Act. Charges against Econet and its directors arose between May 2002 and December 11 2003 when the company bought US$1 386 793, euro 75 337 and 74 472 British pounds and R243 388 from unauthorised dealers. The State alleges that Econet directors later met in Johannesburg, South Africa, where they resolved to evade scrutiny from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

- Britain's BT is reportedly interested in a possible stake acquisition of the Algerian state-owned phone company Algerie Telecom. According to business sources in Algiers, a mission will take four senior executives of BT to Algiers in February, including the company's chief executive officer. The mission will be led by Lady Olga Maitland, a former member of the British parliament for Sutton and Cheam (1992-1997) and who currently chairs the Algerian-British Business Council.

- The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that the country’s second national operator (SNO) Globacom could be disqualified from bidding for a 51% stake in incumbent telco Nitel as it is already a national operator in the country. Globacom expressed an interest in acquiring the stake earlier this week but the regulator said that awarding it a stake in Nitel would hinder competition. It wants instead to award the interest to a newcomer. Telkom South Africa and 19 other investors have expressed an interest in the 51% stake, which also includes 100% of Nitel’s mobile subsidiary, Mtel.

- The process of privatisation of the National office of telecommunications (ONATEL) has resumed in Burkina-Faso. Benoit Ouattara, the Minister in charge Trade and Industry has explained that 51% of the capital of the company will be sold directly to a strategic telecommunication operator or to a consortium of financial investors. The State will keep 23% of the shares and 6% of the capital will be allocated to ONATEL’s employees. The remaining 20% shares will be sold to the public under the supervision of the regional stock exchange (BRVM). By adopting this new step, the government intends to put an end to the monopoly in the sector and open it to the competition in order to ease the financial constraints.