Huawei denies links to BTCL IPO

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Contrary to the much harped statement that the BTCL IPO is only reserved for locals in Botswana, recent media reports point to multinational mobile phone companies angling for the BTCL IPO.   

If the reports are anything to go by, Huawei from Asia and Vodacom an African mobile communications company, have all made inroads into the BTCL shares. However, just this week, Huawei issued a statement and a subsequent retraction from one of the local media house that published the story Huawei said they were not anywhere near the BTCL share offer.

“Botswana Guardian edition of January 23 2015 published a story on Huawei’s interest in acquiring a stake in the forthcoming listing of the Botswana Telecommunications Limited. It has been clarified that while Huawei has a business relationship with BTCL, the Chinese company does not have intentions to buy BTCL’s shares,” said retraction from the paper.

Vodacom on its part has not refuted nor admitted to the insinuations that it is going for the shares. Vodacom Group Limited (Vodacom) is an African mobile communications company, providing voice, messaging, data and converged services to over 55 million customers. From its roots in South Africa, Vodacom has grown its operations to include networks in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Lesotho and provides business services to customers in over 40 African countries such as Nigeria, Zambia, Angola, Kenya, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Cameroon.

Besides these two telecom giants showing interest in the shares, local bigwigs have also been associated with shares. These, according to reports include one of the country’s richest businessmen Satar Dada. Dada is the ruling BDP treasurer and is reported to have shares in another local mobile telephony firm Orange Botswana.

Another is Charles Tibone who is a former minister of Transport and Communication. Tibone is said to have said he is yet to see the writing on the BTCL wall for him to be associated with its share offering. “I would only say much if I knew more about the company, its true value and what I would be buying.”

Another high profile candidate for the shares is the former PEEPA CEO Joshua Galeforolwe who hinted might be in but advised that “let’s wait for the prospectus.” 

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