The tussle for the ownership of mobile operator, Telecel rages on. According to a report in the Daily News, a court ruling on the upcoming sale of shares was passed yesterday.
Jane Mutasa, a shareholder of Empowerment Corporation which owns a 40% in Telecel Zimbabwe, along with Selpon Investments (Mtasa’s investment vehicle) and Magamba eChimurenga, submitted a bid to the High Court to block the sale of Empowerment Corporation’s stake in Telecel Zimbabwe.
The High Court bid was dismissed because of facts that still need to be clarified through court action. Mutasa and the other applicants now have to gather evidence to use in another legal bid. All this is taking place with the issue of the Telecel operating licence hovering over the mobile network’s head.
It remains to be seen whether this legal ruling will be enough to push through the deal that has valued 80 million shares or a 40% stake in the mobile network at $20 million.
While Mtasa’s bid has effectively challenged this valuation, Patrick Zhuwawo who is leading the charge to dispose the stake in Telecel to Brainworks, has argued that the MNO is technically insolvent and needs $300 million in recapitalization funds.
An affidavit from Zhuwawo cites Telecel’s 2013 audited financial results that show assets valued at $216 million and current and non-current liabilities that amount to $203 million. This brings net asset value of approximately $13 million.
With offers to buy a stake in the mobile network operator, claims of ownership from investors that haven’t been seen playing an active role in the mobile network’s operations or growth, “soft” intervention from the State, High Court bids to prevent any share exchange and the accusations of crooked behaviour, the Telecel ownership issue is unravelling in a chaotic manner.
Hopefully, the final result will be the mobile network falling into the hands of individuals willing to invest extensively in creating a competitive service provider. Telecoms has become an extremely challenging industry for operators in any market, what with changes in technology and shifting trends. Whoever wants to have a stake in such a field has to be in it for the long haul.