Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The arbitration process between SA-based Econet Wireless International (EWI) and Econet Wireless Nigeria (EWN) has commenced, following the appointment of the three arbitrators.

Following months of delays, the arbitrators ­ who will have to decide whether to enforce an agreement between EWI and EWN, in which the Nigerian organisation agreed to sell its additional shares to EWI ­ have been named. They are Jan Paulsson of Paris-based Freshfields Bruckhause Deringer, who will fulfil the role of chairman of the arbitral tribunal, Michael Kuper SC from SA and Fidelis Oditah QC from the UK.

According to EWI, a separate arbitration hearing also took place in the UK last week, in relation to the company’s claims that EWN breached the conditions of a technical services agreement between the two organisations. The arbitrator in this instance is Richard Malcolm Briggs, who was appointed last week by the British Law Society to hear the case.

Among the issues to be resolved will be whether the technical services agreement is still valid. A decision in favour of EWI will have potential implications for a more recent technical services agreement that has been negotiated between EWN and Vodacom SA.

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