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Econet

Zimbabwe telecoms giant Econet to spin off financial units

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe plans to list its financial units as a single entity on the country’s stock exchange and sell a majority stake in network operator Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe back to the firm’s parent company. Original Link

Econet in talks, fuelling Liquid Telecom speculation

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is in talks about restructuring the company, according to two people familiar with the matter. The restructuring may be related to a planned listing of Liquid Telecom. Original Link

MTN is Africa’s most valuable telecoms brand

MTN has emerged as Africa’s most valuable telecommunications brand in 2018, according to a new research report by brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance.

The MTN brand is worth US$3.3bn, up 9% from 2017’s report, Brand Finance said. It has moved up two places in the past year, from 47th to 45th worldwide. Vodacom is not included in the list as it falls under Vodafone, which is 10th, down from seventh previously, with a brand value of $18.7bn.

Other African companies included in the 2018 list are Kenya’s Safaricom (99th), Morocco’s Maroc Telecom (111th), Nigeria’s Glo Mobile (130th), Senegal’s Sonatel (136th), Telkom (140th), Cell C (158th), Morocco’s Inwi (169th), Telecom Egypt (201st), Blue Label Telecoms (207th) and Zimbabwe’s Econet (223rd).

US telecoms players continue to dominate the Brand Finance Telecoms 300 league table, with AT&T retaining the title of the sector’s most valuable brand, but most US brands experienced a loss in value as they faced growing competition from Internet giants.

The top 10 companies in the listing are AT&T (US), Verizon (US), China Mobile (China), NTT Group (Japan), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Xfinity (US), China Telecom (China), Orange (France), SoftBank (Japan) and Vodafone (UK).

Nokia is fastest growing telecoms infrastructure brand, up 71% to an $8.4bn brand value. However, China’s Huawei comes out top in the Brand Finance Telecoms Infrastructure league table, valued at $38bn, up 51% from last year.

“While American telecoms brands are at the top of the table, they are grappling with falling brand values as they find themselves navigating a complex regulatory environment and competitive offerings from the Internet challengers, all while battling sinking revenues,” said Brand Finance CEO David Haigh in a statement.

“In order to survive in the digital era, telcos must put up a strong fight by adopting innovative strategies. Nevertheless, when taking a snapshot of brand representation by country, the US still dominates as American brands hold the largest share or 28% of the total brand value in the Brand Finance Telecoms 300 league table.”  — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media

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Econet said to seek UK listing with $8bn value

Strive Masiyiwa. Image c/o Econet Wireless

African telecommunications group Econet is considering selling shares on the London Stock Exchange at a valuation of about US$8bn next year after combining new and existing assets, according to people familiar with the matter.

That valuation would be based on an enlarged company, partly forged through the acquisition of additional African phone businesses, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details are private. The plans have not been finalised and the final valuation may change depending on market conditions.

Econet, founded by Zimbabwean phone tycoon Strive Masiyiwa, is in discussions with Millicom International Cellular to buy some African assets from the Luxembourg-based carrier, although no final decision has been made, one of the people said. Millicom, controlled by Sweden’s Stenbeck family, is scaling back in Africa to focus on Latin America. Its holdings in Tanzania, Chad, Ghana and Rwanda serve some 25m users, which would complement Econet’s operations in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Econet plans to sell about $1bn in new shares in an initial public offering in London and may consider a secondary listing in Johannesburg, according to the people. The group, which is seeking to attract international investors is likely to use new funds for acquisitions, but no final decision has been made, the people said.

Econet declined to comment on the specifics of its plans, saying Masiyiwa has built substantial interests outside Zimbabwe in telecoms, media and financial services in the 18 years since he left the country.

“We are working to streamline these into a vehicle which can be listed,” the company said in an e-mailed response to questions. “At the moment, Econet considers it premature to discuss further, but will provide further clarity should the listing proceed.”

Millicom spokesman Malcolm Fitzwilliams declined to comment, adding that its priority is to profitably and responsibly accelerate organic sales growth.

Closely-held Econet, which has a listing in Zimbabwe of its wireless carrier, has interests in 17 countries, including South Africa, where it owns a domestic fibre company through Liquid Telecom. Earlier this year, it raised $700m in bonds and loan financing that it will use to pay for the planned acquisitions and a purchase of South Africa’s Neotel late last year.  — Reported by Ambereen Choudhury, Loni Prinsloo and Ruth David, (c) 2017 Bloomberg LP

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