ZAMBIANS TO OWN SHARES IN CELTEL

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Celtel Zambia has started the process of offloading ten percent of its shares to Zambian investors, Celtel Zambia managing director David Venn has disclosed. And Venn has announced that Celtel Zambia would connect 28 rural towns to its network in the next two months.

In an interview at Kalambo Falls before launching Celtel Zambia's network in the area, Venn said the company was now geared to implement its licence condition over localising ownership.

Venn said although he could not name any of the investors the company was discussing the purchase of shares with, the process had gone well, with a deal likely to be sealed soon.

"We have realised that the company is not yet ready for listing on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) and this has made us explore other avenues of incorporating local investors in Celtel Zambia," Venn explained.

"Though I cannot give you more details, I am glad to report that we have made good progress in getting some Zambian investors to take up, for a start, 10 per cent shares. We are initially targeting institutional investors and as we progress, we shall invite more Zambians to buy shares."

Once this happens, Celtel Zambia would have made progress, offering at least 25 per cent shares in the company to Zambian investors.

Under the terms of its licence in Zambia Celtel is required to sell up to 41 per cent shareholding in Celtel Zambia Limited to Zambian Interests. But the company is negotiating with the government to agree on the percentage that needs to be transferred.

Additionally, Celtel has the obligation to acquire a further 10 per cent interest in Celtel Zambia Limited from one of its local partners. When the exercise period of this option ends, Celtel Zambia Limited may then be listed on the stock exchange.

Venn also said Celtel Zambia was committed to spreading its service across the country because communication was vital to stimulating development.

"This is why we have targeted to connect at least 28 towns in the next two months. And today's launch here in Mbala marks the start of a campaign to connect rural areas," he said.

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