On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Celtel Uganda is seeking a court order to recover UGS2.9 billion (USD1.67 million) in interconnection fees, plus damages and 28% interest it claims is owed to it by Uganda Telecom (UTL). It alleges that the two signed a memorandum of understanding in 2000 to set interconnection fees across their networks but did not include mobile services in the deal, instead arranging that a new interconnection agreement would be drawn up to include the mobile segment. However, it appears that the companies failed to execute a new contract as they could not agree on rates, and the matter was only resolved in December 2003 when the regulator issued its own set of interconnection fees.

- South Africa's fixed-line phone company Telkom slid more than 8 percent on Monday as investors sold the stock ahead of a mammoth dividend payout. The company will pay a four-rand annual dividend plus a five rand special dividend on July 8, but the shares trade ex dividend from Monday. Telkom shares tumbled 7.99 percent to 105.99 rand by 0732 GMT, the top loser on the Johannesburg top-40 index, which slipped 0.66 percent. "The stock is falling because it is trading ex dividend," said one Johannesburg-based analyst.

- The Namibian government has announced plans to sell off a 34% stake in mobile operator Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) to an international or regional player by the end of the year. The state said that the proposed sale would go hand in hand with the transfer of a further 15% stake in MTC to black economic empowerment partners. Interested parties have been given until 15 July to express an interest in the process before the tender is launched. The value of the sale has yet to be disclosed. At the end of March 2005 MTC had 360,000 subscribers to its network, around 90% of which were prepaid.

- The Kenyan government looks unlikely to agree to Vodafone’s offer to purchase an additional 11% stake in mobile operator Safaricom, having demanded that a 1998 shareholders agreement under which Telkom Kenya and Vodafone own and manage Safaricom be re-negotiated. The re-negotiation will begin on 12 July, and the government has said that no change of ownership will take place during the process.