Telecel local shareholders say their 40% stake in the mobile operator is not for sale and would approach President Robert Mugabe to ward off pressures to sell the stake to private equity and advisory firm, Brainworks Capital Management.
BY OUR STAFF
Shareholders in Empowerment Corporation (EC), with 40% in Telecel, are wrangling over the proposed sale of the stake to Brainworks.
Telecel is owned 60% by Telecel International and 40% by EC — a coalition of various local groups.
Jane Mutasa, who represents Selpon Investments and Indigenous Business Women Organisation — two of the paid up shareholders in Empowerment Corporation — said the group had been given the licence as a form of empowerment having lost to Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet to operate a second mobile network.
Other shareholders are Kestrel Corporation and National Miners Association.
“The President gave us the licence as a way of empowering locals. There is no way we will sell that licence. If there is anyone in Empowerment Corporation who wants to sell, the other shareholders have the right of first refusal to buy the equity,” Mutasa said.
Fresh details also emerged that Friday’s meeting of EC members that had agreed to sell the stake to Brainworks had not been properly called for. EC chief executive officer Patrick Zhuwao was quoted as saying the meeting had agreed to sell the 40% stake to Brainworks for $20 million.
Mutasa said she had not attended the meeting as no notice of 21 days had been given.
“I got a call from Calton Consultants on Thursday evening to attend a meeting at 9am on Friday. What is surprising is that the same Calton had put an advert, cancelling an earlier meeting, adding that if the need arose, it would call members,” Mutasa said.
“The chairman [James Makamba] said members were going to sit down to map the way forward. Before members have sat, we are hearing that Brainworks would buy the 40% stake.”
Mutasa said shareholders should not be forced to sell, adding that “anyone interested in a mobile network operator should apply for a licence”.