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Zim firm buys Altech businesses

Jan 29 2013 11:06
Malcom Sharara, Fin24's correspondent in ZImbabwe
Harare - JSE-listed technology giant Allied Technologies [JSE:ALT] (Altech) has sold its East African businesses to Zimbabwe-based company Liquid Telecom (Liquid).

The transaction will result in Liquid becoming the largest single fibre network in Africa, spanning Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho and South Africa.

In a statement issued on the JSE, Altech said the deal will enable it to end the losses being incurred in East Africa, and will result in Altech acquiring a strategic 8.6% interest in Liquid.

According to Altech's statement, Liquid is a specialist operator of fibre-optic networks in Africa. It already operates an extensive network in southern and Central Africa, providing a broad range of services to telecoms operators, large corporations, banks and internet service providers.

Altech Group CEO Craig Venter believes this partnership makes for a strong strategic fit. Altech acquires an interest in a successful and profitable African data network operator, and also extends Liquid’s network from southern and central Africa to East Africa.

In the process it will also help to create a Pan-African operator which, according to Altech, will have unique and unrivalled coverage, particularly as regards multinational companies requiring a presence in Africa and support for their branch communication services.

As more and more undersea cables reach the African coastline, Liquid has positioned itself over the last few years as the builder of a network to connect the hinterland of the continent with many landlocked countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, and the DRC, often laying thousands of kilometers of fibre along highways and also on power lines.

Liquid Telecom is a member of the Econet Wireless Global group of companies. It was started by Econet Wireless founder Strive Masiyiwa in 1997 as a satellite communications provider.

It operates out of Mauritius, London and Johannesburg, and has offices in more than 15 African countries.

 - Fin24


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