Portugal Telecom Buys into MTC

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By Francis Tsawayo WINDHOEK Namibia Post and Telecommunication Holdings (NPTH) has concluded a share sale agreement that will give Portugal Telecom 34 percent of its stake in Mobile Telecommunications (MTC) worth N$1.2 billion. In attendance at the signing ceremony for the agreement was the Deputy Permanent Secretary of Works, Transport and Communication Elia Akwaake, the CEO of Namibia Post and Telecommunication Holdings Frans Ndoroma, the Chairman of Portugal Telecom Joao Pedro Baptista, Ceasrar Mesquita and Hubbo Gerdes as well as representatives of Government and board members of both companies. Under the shareholders’ agreement, Portugal Telecom shall appoint one non-executive board member to the new board of MTC, as well as the managing director, who would take office by September 1 this year. In addition, Portugal Telecom will also appoint one of the general managers of MTC. Prior to the agreement NPTH had extended an invitation to interested telecommunications operators to propose terms and conditions under which they would acquire 34 percent of shares in MTC, a subsidiary of NPTH. An evaluation committee comprising of board members of NPTH and MTC, representatives from the ministries of Finance, Justice and Works, Transport and Commu-nication, the CEO of NPTH as well as management teams of NPTH and MTC selected Portugal Telecom as the suitable strategic partner from15 bids received from countries across the globe, Ndoroma revealed. In his speech, Akwaake described his presence at the ceremony as the reinforcement of Government’s commitment to private sector development as well as to welcome Portugal Telecom to Namibia. Speaking on the agreement, Akwaake noted that the endeavour was an important positive step as it would significantly increase the opportunities to consolidate MTC’s business position throughout the country following the liberalisation of the mobile phone sector with the recent licensing of a second mobile operator. According to Akwaake, Portugal Telecom will assist Namibia in strengthening its mobile phone sector as well as contributing to the establishment of a sound telecommunications sector. On the part of the Government, the investment by Portugal Telecom is in line with the long-term commitment to transform the telecommunications sector into one managed along private sector lines, with increased private participation. “Sound and efficient telecommunication infrastructure is vital for the development of a strong economy,” Akwaake said. Sending out a message to other potential investors, Akwaake said that the direct investment made into MTC should signify the potential within the country and the confidence that Portugal Telecom has in the future of Namibia. On his part, the chairman of Portugal Telecom promised that a strong partnership had been sealed and that it would stand the test of time to yield positive results. Portugal Telecom is currently present in seven African countries with a diversified telco positioning (Wireless, Wireline, Pay TV and Directories). Its operations in Africa account for more than five million mobile phone subscribers.