India’s Tata Communications has rubbished talk that it plans to sell its South African subsidiary, telecommunications operator Neotel. Company spokesman Rozzyn Boy on Friday said Tata had no intention of selling the company.
“We don’t have any plans to sell Neotel, no,” Boy said. “I’ve seen the rumours that are circulating, but those are only rumours and we won’t comment on them.”
It’s the second time in two months that Tata has denied it plans to sell the company.
When TechCentral first became aware of market talk about a possible deal in March, Boy told the publication that Tata Communications had no intention of disinvesting from South Africa. That position remained the same now.
The telecoms market in South Africa has been abuzz with rumours since March that MTN, Vodacom and Dimension Data were keen to buy into Neotel, which was licensed about eight years ago as South Africa’s second national operator to take on Telkom’s then-monopoly over fixed lines.
Dimension Data Middle East & Africa CEO Derek Wilcocks also said there were no talks taking place between his company and the telecoms operator. Last week, Didata said it was acquiring the Nairobi-listed AccessKenya Group for R326m.
If anything, Tata Communications has shown an interest in expanding its role in South Africa in recent years. In June 2011, it acquired Two Telecoms Consortium’s 12,5% stake in Neotel, taking its shareholding to 61,5%. Neotel’s minority shareholders are Communitel and empowerment partner Nexus Connection.
MyBroadband, a consumer forum website, quoted an unnamed source on Friday claiming that talks between Neotel and MTN and Neotel and Vodacom were at an advanced stage.
Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman on Friday said the mobile operator explored investment opportunities “on a regular basis” but would not comment on specific companies. MTN could not immediately be reached for comment. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media