Vodafone Ghana’s Telecel deal hangs in the balance
Ghana’s National Communications Authority (NCA) has denied blocking the planned sale of Vodafone Ghana’s 70% stake in Ghana Telecommunications Company to Telecel Group.
The NCA said it received the application for the transfer of 70% majority shares in Vodafone Ghana to Telecel in January this year, but that the request did not meet regulatory requirements.
The regulator issued a statement which reads: “After critical regulatory and evaluation, the NCA concluded that the request did not meet the regulatory threshold for approval to be granted.”
Vodafone entered the Ghanaian market in 2008 after acquiring shares for US$900-million. The Ghanaian government holds the remaining 30% share of the business.
Earlier this month Telecel released a statement confirming it signed a sales and purchase (SPA) agreement with Vodafone for its operations in Ghana.
The telco added it had contacted the country’s Ministry for Communications, the Bank of Ghana and the NCA to finalise all the regulatory requirements related to the transaction, but authorities had not yet approved the deal.
Telecel said, “We have received their responses which have not granted the approvals yet and Telecel is willing to re-engage soon and putting together the necessary clarifications. The acquisition is fully financed by Telecel Group and its partners. Telecel hopes to successfully conclude this transaction and looks forward to engaging with staff and customers who are important to the business.”
The company said if the sale is approved, it plans to spend US$500-million in the first three years to expand and refinance Vodafone’s network across the West African country.
Ghana’s Communications and Digitalisation Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful confirmed the acquisition has not been approved by the NCA.
Owusu-Ekuful said, “The law requires that they get approval from the NCA and we have had a series of discussions with them. We are concerned that Telecel were a very small operator and did not have the technical and financial muscle to be able to take on the challenging environment that we have in the telecom sector herein Ghana.”
Telecel Group has operations in Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Benin, Cameroon and Gabon.