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Vodacom ‘close to settling’ Congo dispute
19 January 2012
Vodafone-controlled South African operator says it is close resolving dispute with Congo partner CWN
Congolese Wireless Network
South Africa’s Vodacom group is likely to resolve an issue with its minority partner Congolese Wireless Network soon, according to Vodacom’s international operations head, Johan Dennelind.
He said that his firm is making “good progress” over the matter and is nearing a solution for Vodacom Congo.
The dispute, which has lasted nearly two years, has blocked any investment by Vodafone-controlled Vodacom in its business in the Democratic Republic of Congo, reported Bloomberg. Dennelind stated that his firm is having “constructive discussions” with its partners on the Vodacom Congo board.
The dispute between Vodacom and Congolese Wireless Network began after the former’s plans to invest $484 million in Vodacom Congo. According to Bloomberg, CWN objected to the plan saying that its shareholders will not be able to financially support their share of the venture and hence the injection would dilute the DRC operator’s 49% share.
Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys earlier said that his company was willing to divest its 51% stake if that helped end the dispute. Vodacom decided not to make any investments in Congo until the two parties reach a solution to their disputes.
The Vodacom Congo unit has not posted profits since 2001, when Vodacom acquired its stake in the firm. According to Bloomberg, Vodacom’s units outside South Africa posted operating losses of $33.3 million in the half-year ending September 30 2011. GTB
Further reading from Global Telecoms Business:
Vodacom Tanzania plans $100m spend 06 Jan 2012
Vodacom Mozambique to upgrade network 23 Nov 2011
Vodacom Congo partner blocks stake sale 25 Oct 2011
MTN 'bids for Vodacom in DR Congo' 18 Oct 2011