Investors shun NetOne over valuation

By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe


NetOne chief executive Reward Kangai says the State-owned mobile network operator has been unable to secure investors largely due to disputes over the valuation of the company.

He told the media at an ICT parliamentary hearing this morning that the shareholder (government) was seeking to partner investors who have a pan-African footprint.

"The shareholder says there was a lot of investment put into the company and that the potential value of the company was huge," he said, adding government had invested not more than USD200 million into the company since dollarisation in 2009.

However, in its last results audited by Grant Thornton and Camelsa, the mobile provider posted a loss in the year to December 2010 from revenue of close to USD100 million.

Kangai said that the company was owed USD21 million in outstanding bill payments while it also has USD30 million in outstanding loan payments and penalties to KFW, ING bank, Standard Chartered UK. The loans were last serviced in 2002.

Kangai said the company has been operating without a board for six months after the last board's tenure expired last year in June, after which it was only extended for six months.

“We are currently reporting directly to the Minister,” he said, adding that the Minister was currently working on appointing a new board.

NetOne is the second largest mobile network provider by subscriber base accounting for 18%market share behind Econet's 66 % and slightly above Telecel's 16 %.

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