Vodacom acquires stake in Vumatel and Dark Fibre Africa

Vodacom Group today says it has agreed on terms to acquire a strategic stake in Community Investment Ventures Holdings’ fibre assets to boost its fibre business.

Vodacom Group will hold a co-controlling 30% equity interest in a newly formed InfraCo entity into which all of the material assets currently owned by Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) and Vumatel will be transferred in addition to certain Vodacom owned fibre assets.

The mobile operator said it has an option to acquire an additional 10% stake in InfraCo to 40%.

It will pay for the transaction through a combination of R6 billion cash and the contribution of its fibre-to-the-home, fibre-to-the-business and business-to-business transmission access fibre network infrastructure to the InfraCo, at a valuation of R4.2 billion, in return for new shares in InfraCo.

Vodacom will acquire further (secondary) shares from CIVH sufficient to increase its shareholding to at least 30% in the InfraCo at a pre-agreed formula.

Vodacom Group chief executive Shameel Joosub said: “Our agreement with CIVH aligns with Vodacom Group’s strategy to build high quality and resilient fixed and mobile networks with and through selected strategic partnerships across the African continent. It also supports Vodacom’s purpose-driven plan to assist the government in rebuilding the economy post-Covid.”

CIVH Group chief executive Raymond Ndlovu said: “This milestone investment will boost our ambitious fibre roll-out programme across the country and assist in narrowing the digital divide by enabling affordable access to connectivity in some of the most vulnerable parts of our society. Ultimately, it will result in much needed inclusive economic growth.”

CIVH operates electronic communications infrastructure through its subsidiaries Vumatel and DFA.

Vumatel builds, owns and operates a high-speed FTTH network, using a wholesale open-access model that passes more than 1.2 million homes and deploys over 31,000 kilometres of fibre infrastructure across South Africa. In terms of the agreement, Vumatel’s fibre network will be merged with Vodacom’s fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-business assets.

DFA specialises in building, installing, and operating a national metro fibre network spanning 13,000 km and 37,000 connected circuits and supplying a range of dark fibre and actively managed fibre products to enterprise customers.

In a separate announcement, Vodacom Group announced on Wednesday (10 November) that it has agreed to acquire a 55% shareholding in Vodafone Egypt from two wholly-owned subsidiaries of Vodafone Group, being Vodafone International Holdings and Vodafone Europe for $2.7 billion.

80% of the offer consideration will be settled by the issue of new Vodacom Group shares, with the balance being settled in cash.

Vodafone Egypt launched services in 1998 and is now the largest mobile network operator in Egypt in terms of revenue and customers with mobile market shares of 43% and 40%, respectively. Vodafone Egypt provides a range of integrated telecommunication services, including mobile and fixed voice, SMS, data and mobile money, to 43 million customers, serving both consumer and enterprise customers.

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