On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Telecel Zimbabwe Chairman James Makamba last Thursday lost a chunk of his shareholding in Empowerment Corporation (EC) in a reconfiguration exercise meant to accommodate other shareholders. Representatives of the empowerment body were in a stormy meeting late Thursday and it later emerged that they had agreed to a restructuring of the share ownership. The representatives said they were now taking the matter to their constituencies for approval. EC members that attended the meeting include the Indigenous Business Women's Organisation (IBWO), Selpon (Pvt) Ltd owned by empowerment lobbyist Jane Mutasa, Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU), Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association 'Magamba Echimurenga' and National Miners Association of Zimbabwe (NMAZ), project promoters Kestrel Corporation (Pvt) and technical advisors Integrated Engineering Group (IEG). EC are 40% shareholders of Telecel Zimbabwe.

- The battle for control of Nigerian cellco Vee-Networks has taken yet another twist with the news that minority shareholder Econet Wireless International (EWI) is threatening court action against fellow investors if they attempt to sell their shares in the operator to Vodacom and Virgin Mobile. Earlier this month Vodacom and Virgin Mobile announced that they would make a joint bid for a controlling stake in Vee Networks (which trades under the V-Mobile brand name) and that their bid had the backing of the company’s board. However, it looks like any buyout will now have to wait until a legal claim by former V-Mobile shareholder and manager EWI is resolved. EWI was forced to give up its shareholding in V-Mobile in early 2004 and saw its management contract for the cellco handed to Vodacom amid claims that its business dealings were not transparent. At the start of the month an international tribunal referred the case to a new panel to be appointed by a Nigerian court and EWI has publicly said that any V-Mobile investor attempting to sell their stake in the cellco will be cited for contempt of court.