The National Social Security Authority is reported to have reached an agreement with Empowerment Corporation for the acquisition of a 40 percent stake in Telecel Zimbabwe. This comes after the institution bailed out state-owned internet technology firm Zarnet to complete the acquisition of the 60 percent stake which was held by Amsterdam-headquartered Vimpelcom for a total consideration of $40 million.Well placed sources told The Herald Business that NSSA had reached an agreement with Empowerment Corporation for the stake for $20 million, which is the same price that previous suitor Brainworks Capital wanted to pay.
“Agreements over the sale were signed close to a fortnight ago and EC agreed to a $20 million sale. NSSA is now doing due diligence. Once the processes have been completed Government will now officially own Telecel 100 percent.”
When contacted for comment chairman of the public institution Robin Vela said he was not comfortable speaking to The Herald Business. “I am comfortable speaking with other reporters but not The Herald Business,” said Mr Vela adding that there were instances that the newspaper has gone on to publish stories without his consent or comment. Further direction was given to this paper to send enquiries to another journalist.
Prominent EC shareholders James Makamba and Jane Mutasa could not be reached for comment.
NSSA funded the remaining balance of $30 million needed for Government to complete the acquisition of the majority stake in Telecel Zimbabwe from Vimpelcom in February.
Vimpelcom disposed its stake to Government through Zarnet for $40 million late last year. However, Zarnet paid the initial $10 million while the remainder had to be settled by mid-February.
To meet the deadline, Zarnet had to engage NSSA to enable the transaction to be completed.
NSSA is said to be currently doing a proper evaluation of the business with a view of exploring synergies that might be pursued with its own operations. Main attraction of the business includes its cash generative nature which could help NSSA in providing its pension service.
NSSA recently said it would make relevant its services and leverage technology to attract and accommodate untapped informal sector market and expand its membership base.