Two of South Africa’s biggest fibre telecommunications providers, Vumatel and Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), are being folded into a new infrastructure holding company that will be led by Vuma CEO Dietlof Mare.
Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH), the Remgro- and New GX-controlled parent company of DFA and Vumatel (which is also known as Vuma), said on Thursday that the two companies will be managed under the new infrastructure company, whose name must still be announced. CIVH said Vumatel and DFA will initially continue to operate separately, but it implied in a statement that, in time, the entities could be merged.
The announcement comes as Vodacom gears up to buy up to a 40% stake in the new infrastructure business. TechCentral reported on 24 March that talks were at an advanced stage to introduce Vodacom a shareholder into the venture, with the transaction still awaiting regulatory and other approvals. Last November, Remgro announced that Vodacom would acquire up to 40% of a new created wholly owned subsidiary of CIVH provisionally called Infraco, which would hold CIVH’s interests in DFA and Vumatel. Vodacom would bring a combination of assets worth R4.2-billion to the table as well as at least R6-billion in cash.
Mare will serve as the new holding’s company’s CEO, while Byron Billett – also an executive at Vumatel – will be chief financial officer. Andries Delport, who leads DFA as CEO, will continue in the role and will be “an integral part of the infrastructure company’s management committee”.
“We realise that to continue connecting as many South Africans as possible we need to ensure that our businesses run effectively,” said Mare in a statement. “This new infrastructure company will allow us to continue bridging the digital divide by enabling DFA and Vumatel to operate their infrastructure assets seamlessly and on an open-access basis, under one aligned strategy.”
CIVH CEO Raymond Ndlovu said: “The fibre-to-the-home market is constantly evolving, especially in the open-access environment, and fibre network operators have to be able to evolve at the same pace. By establishing our new infrastructure company, we can place both DFA and Vumatel in a position to meet this developing demand for fibre connectivity and continue providing innovative products and solutions to the market. The establishment of this holding company will enable both Vumatel and DFA to expand their open-access network infrastructures to meet customer requirements with the ultimate goal of connecting more of South Africa to high-capacity fixed-line infrastructure.” — © 2022 NewsCentral Media