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Delay in VimpelCom Telecel stake transfer

Delay in VimpelCom Telecel stake transfer.

VimpelCom has not yet completed the transfer of a 60% shareholding stake in Zimbabwe's Telecel to state-owned ICT firm Zarnet.

The government, with an already significant presence in the country's telecommunications industry through NetOne, is now reportedly seeking to buy out minority shareholders in Telecel Zimbabwe to raise its interest in the company.

"We have not yet gathered information to that from the Minister responsible but we have been assured that the deal will sail through and that VimpelCom will pay for the share disposal," a top government official said.

Zimbabwe ICT Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira was not reachable for comment on Monday.

However, VimpelCom said last week that the deal will be closed once customary conditions to the deal have been settled. "Transfer of ownership to ZARNet will occur after customary conditions are satisfied," the company confirmed last week.

In November 2015 VimpelCom announced that its 51.9% owned subsidiary, Global Telecom Holding was selling its stake in Telecel International, which owns 60% in Telecel Zimbabwe Ltd for $40 million.

In a disclosure note last week, VimpelCom cited the "Zimbabwe disposition failure to obtain the requisite regulatory approvals or the receipt of approvals on terms not acceptable to the parties to these transactions" as part of the uncertainties to its bid to move out of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe accused VimpelCom of reneging on licence renewal fee payment obligations as well as failure to comply with the country's contentious black empowerment regulations.

It had also earlier cancelled the operating licence of Telecel Zimbabwe, citing failure to renew its licence and transfer majority shares into the hands of black Zimbabweans.

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