ECONET TO USE BOTSWANA AS GLOBAL LAUNCHING PAD

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  International telecommunications company, Econet Wireless International (EWI) has injected US$140 million (P616 million) into the Botswana-headquartered Econet Wireless Global (EWG) in a development that will see the company launching a global onslaught through the investment.

EWI announced its ambitions to use Botswana as the springboard of its international investments, in a statement last week. The statement explained that this decision to make Botswana the launching pad of an international investment drive was reached after noting the special tax concessions offered by the country.

"We have set up a Botswana-based company, Econet Wireless Global (EWG) that will be in charge of our telecommunications operations in Africa, Europe and the Asia Pacific Rim. We chose Botswana so as to take advantage of the attractive incentives that are offered by their government," said the statement.

The communique, released in Harare, added that the new highly capitalised global company was also expected to spearhead the consolidation under one roof of the company's telecommunications interests in 10 countries.

The Econet spokesman added that the Botswana company would be in charge of telecommunications operations in the core areas of cellular, satellite and fixed networks, and with offices and operations in such countries as Botswana, Lesotho, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, and the UK.

In Botswana, EWG has a 40 percent interest in Mascom Wireless, together with a Batswana investor group, Citizens Investments, which will also have shares in EWG. Mascom Wireless, operates Botswana's largest mobile network with a subscriber base of nearly 300,000 customers.

In the UK, EWG owns Econet Satellite Services (ESS), a satellite operation with links which moves international voice and data traffic to 61 countries worldwide, networked through at least 400 networks around the globe.

Econet also has other telecommunications interests in Lesotho, Nigeria, New Zealand and Kenya.

Econet Wireless Holdings (EWH) also recently sealed a multibillion dollar transaction in which it acquired a 10 percent stake in the Zimbabwe-registered and diversified financial services entity, Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL), to become the third largest institutional investor after Meikles Africa, which controls a 24.73 stake and Old Mutual, with a 10.18 percent interest.

Mmegi/The Reporter