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South Africa’s Vodacom plans sale of operations in five African markets1 minute read

The company plans sale of holdings in Angola, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia

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South Africa's Vodacom plans sale of operations in five African markets

Vodacom, a branch of Vodafone Group Plc and operators of mobile phone services in Africa is selling its Business Africa operations. This comprises holdings in Angola, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia.

The company’s Angolan holdings is being sold to Internet Technologies Angola (ITA) while Synergy Communication (SynCom) will take over its Nigeria, Zambia and Ivory Coast businesses. Synergy Communications will partner with major global cloud providers and deliver platform-based services to both multinationals and local enterprises

SynCom will be taking over 100 per cent holding of the three African markets subject to regulatory approvals. The acquisition will boost SynCom’s coverage as it already has presence in Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique.

Vodacom on its part, says the operations and assets of its affected Business Africa units will be acquired by the new partners on confidential terms. In the year ended March 31, enterprise service revenue contributed 23 per cent to group service revenue for Vodacom, with 77 per cent of the revenue coming from consumer service. Vodacom also affirms that the agreements were subject to regulatory approvals across relevant markets.

Vodacom Group CEO, Shameel Joosub, says “the company is not exiting any of the territories related to the transactions and remains focused on continuing to deliver exceptional service to our global and multinational clients in these markets through long-term commercial agreements”

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South African Airways bailout talks stall

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In light of a poor financial outlook at South African Airways (SAA), including lack of cash for flight operations, the airline has addressed reports of impending bankruptcy, assuring customers and stakeholders that its flights are continuing to operate as normal.

“The airline is aware of media reports suggesting that it will cease operations. SAA is always committed to transparently communicate with all stakeholders, including customers, about any material or significant operational changes that may have an impact on flight schedules,” the airline issued an official press release on January 20, 2020.

In order for the airline to avoid collapse and ensure connectivity, the South African government placed the carrier under bankruptcy protection in December 2019, including a $272 million bailout to keep flights running. With not a single profitable year since 2011 and a bailout sum that amounts to $2 billion through the years, the airline was looking for a strategic partner to help it navigate through tough weather.

The airline’s business rescue practitioners held talks with the government at the weekend to try to find a solution on the funding gap but as of Sunday evening, no solution had been found.

Last week, a senior trade union official said SAA could have to suspend some flights and delay salary payments if the government doesn’t come up with a plan to provide the funds soon.

On Sunday, the public enterprises ministry said it was talking with the National Treasury to raise funds for SAA.

The airline is one of several South African state entities, including power company Eskom, mired in financial crisis after nearly a decade of mismanagement.

Recent reports reveal that at least, a dozen flights to and from the SAA hub in Johannesburg have been grounded.

The cancelled departures include the Monday evening flight to Munich. The loss of this flight will trigger payments of €600 to each passenger under European air passengers’ rights rules.

Ten flights to and from Durban and six links with Cape Town have been axed. In addition, some SA Express services have been grounded. These have SAA flight numbers but are operated by a separate carrier.

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President Kenyatta launches Kenya’s first green bond at London Stock Exchange

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President Uhuru Kenyatta today rang the bell to kick off the trading of Kenya’s first green bond at the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Speaking during the launch, the President urged UK investors to use Kenya as a gateway to investing in Africa and AS a bridge to the emerging market of more than 1.2 billion people created by the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“Kenya is one of the top ten fastest growing economies on the continent and also one of the most pro-business nations in Africa,” President Kenyatta said. The President is in London to attend the UK–Africa Investment Summit.

The $40 million (over 4 billion shillings) bond by Nairobi-based property developer Acorn Holdings, started trading today at the LSE and becomes the first Kenya shilling corporate green bond to be listed in the United Kingdom. The bond, which was first listed at the Nairobi Stock Exchange last week, will help Acorn Holdings raise funds to build environmentally friendly accommodation for 50,000 university students in Nairobi.

The Kenyan leader applauded last year’s signing of an MoU by the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and the London Stock Exchange to work with Kenyan companies to help them expand their footprint by jointly listing on the bourse in Nairobi and in London. 

“I note that to date the LSE has admitted over 200 bonds from across the world, raising over 33 billion Pound Sterling worth of capital for sustainable development,” he pointed out. 

Secretary of State for International Development, Rt. Honourable Alok Sharma, said one of the reasons the green bond was happening was because of the support the UK government has provided in terms of the regulation environment and the partial guarantees for investors.

“This is a landmark moment here as well as in the whole of London for we are here today because of the UK-Africa Investment Summit. We have over eight of the 50 fast growing economies in the world in Africa,” Mr Sharma said.

President Kenyatta, along with other African leaders, is in London to attend the UK–Africa Investment Summit.

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Iceland’s Samherji to exit Namibia following bribery scandal

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Samherji, the Icelandic fishing company at the centre of Namibia’s biggest corruption scandal, has announced that it is withdrawing from the country.

The move comes as former justice minister, Sakeus Shanghala and fisheries minister, Bernardt Esau, along with two former employees of South Africa’s Investec, remain in custody.

The accused have been in custody since November following allegations of conspiracy with Samherji to receive payments worth 100 million Namibian dollars ($6.92 million) in exchange for horse mackerel fishing quotas.

Interim Chief Executive, Björgólfur Jóhannsson, said in a statement, that Samherji is currently de-investing its Namibian operations, but did not give a time frame, only saying that the process “will take some time”.

Samherji had tried to sell its assets in Namibia, including a $400 million vessel, before the bribery scandal made international headlines.

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