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Sunday, Nov 17th

Zim govt wants minimum US$300-million for NetOne, TelOne

Zim govt wants minimum US0-million for NetOne, TelOne

The Zimbabwean government says it expects to complete the sale of its majority shareholding in mobile phone operator NetOne and fixed telecom company TelOne by the end of the year.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the government is looking to dispose its majority shares and retain just 26% shareholding in both companies.

Ncube added that there has been progress on the privatisation process of the two companies claiming there is interest by various investors to enter Zimbabwe's telecom market.

He declined to name the investors that have approached the authorities to buy the two companies and said he has yet to get a report from the financial advisor.

Companies that have previously shown interest in entering Zimbabwe's telecom market include South African mobile network operator MTN and telecommunications services provider Telkom.

Ncube was quoted by the local Zimbabwe Independent newspaper saying, "...there is a reason why we are choosing to remain with 26% shareholding because this is what we call effective minority shareholding which we can use to block certain decision. If it is below that, we are not effective."

Ncube said recently that the two companies would be sold for no less than US$300-million.

Andrew Makanya, telecom analyst at Computer Association of Zambia, told ITWeb Africa that privatising the companies is the only way to make them viable and competitive.

"If the Zimbabwean government succeeds in privatising the two companies, we expect them to become viable and competitive as the new owners will definitely push in more money and will come up with new operational strategies so that they can quickly recoup their investments."

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