Vodacom is part of a consortium that has won an operating licence for a cellular service in Ethiopia.
The consortium is made up of acknowledged experts in the supply and operation of a telephone service and beat another applicant (MTN Grp) which was not successful.
The Global Partnership consortium comprises includes Safaricom (in which Vodacom is a 35 per cent shareholder), Vodacom, Vodafone Group (which controls Vodacom); Sumitomo Corp (a large Japanese international trading and business investment firm), and CDC Group, a UK-based development finance institution and impact investor.
The trading name for the new venture is Safaricom Telecommunications and is registered in the Netherlands.
“Vodacom’s commitment to fund the Ethiopia opco is limited to its pro rata beneficial shareholding of 6.2 per cent, which is not expected to be material. Safaricom, as the lead member of the consortium, intends to provide additional disclosure on the funding of the Ethiopia opco in the coming months. Vodacom will also provide strategic operational support for the Ethiopia opco,” says Vodacom.
“The licence unlocks a unique opportunity for the consortium to build out world-class services in Africa’s second largest country by population, providing a compelling long-term growth vector for Vodacom and Safaricom,” Vodacom said in a statement to shareholders on September 13th. “Furthermore, the investment in Ethiopia enhances Vodacom and Safaricom’s geographic diversification.”
Ethiopia ownership structure:
· Safaricom: 55.7%
· Sumitomo: 27.2%
· CDC Group: 10.9%
· Vodacom: 6.2 per cent
· Vodafone: Not disclosed