Econet to push for Mascom listing if MTN sale goes through

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Zimbabwe-based Econet Wireless Group says it will push for a listing of shares in Botswana’s largest cellco by subscribers, Mascom Wireless, should it succeed in becoming the company’s majority shareholder.

Econet currently has an indirect 7% stake in Mascom via the holding company Mobile Botswana Limited (MBL). Its partner in MBL is South Africa’s MTN Group. MTN recently agreed to sell its entire stake in MBL to Econet for USD300 million, raising Econet’s indirect interest in Mascom to 60%.

The remaining 40% of Mascom is currently owned by the Botswana Public Officers’ Pension Fund (BPOPF). A report from the Weekend Post cites Econet sources as saying that the Zimbabwean firm will push the BPOPF to release a 10% stake in Mascom for a public listing in Botswana, adding that Econet will do the same.

The MTN-Econet deal has faced opposition from Mascom’s board, which argued that BPOPF should have been given the first right of refusal on MTN’s 53% stake. Econet says, however, that their partnership via the holding company MBL gives it the right to acquire the South African firm’s shares.