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Corporate/Financial - Nigeria: Bharti loses Airtel Nigeria appeal

An appeals court in Lagos has ruled that Econet Wireless International remains a shareholder in Airtel Nigeria, dealing a blow to the mobile operator’s majority owner Bharti Airtel, which may have to pay Econet USD3 billion in compensation. According to the Premium Times, the court said Bharti Airtel failed in its bid to get the ruling of a lower court on the disposal of some shares the telecom firm set aside. The Indian telecoms operator, which is expected to lodge an appeal with the country’s Supreme Court, inherited the ongoing legal case as part of its USD9 billion acquisition of Zain’s Africa operations in June 2010, including 65% of Zain Nigeria (since rebranded Airtel Nigeria). Econet was a founding shareholder in Airtel Nigeria when the cellco was established as Econet Wireless Nigeria (EWN) in 2001, and claims its 5% stake was cancelled following a takeover by Vodacom of South Africa in 2003. EWN was subsequently renamed Vee Networks, but Vodacom pulled out of its contract soon after, citing ‘irregularities’ in the payment of the brokerage fees. Celtel International, a division of Kuwaiti firm Zain, then purchased 65% of the company in May 2006, a move Econet Wireless said violated its pre-emption rights. Then, in 2009 Econet Wireless started moves to block the sale of Zain’s interests in Nigeria to Bharti Airtel until a ruling on the dispute over ownership of the company was issued, but the takeover by the Indian firm was concluded in June 2010. In 2012 an international tribunal ordered Bharti to pay compensation to Econet Wireless, after the Federal High Court of Nigeria reinstated Econet’s 5% shareholding in Airtel Nigeria, claiming that the stake was unfairly cancelled, thus rendering any decision made since then without Econet null and void. In its judgement, the Lagos High Court found that the international tribunal had been correctly constituted, had jurisdiction and had acted correctly on all accounts. Econet Wireless then submitted a claim to the tribunal for equitable compensation and damages of USD3.1 billion.

Wireline: Mauritius: MT to deploy second fibre-optic cable PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 21 September 2009 13:06
Mauritius Telecom (MT), which has already connected to the South Africa Far East fibre-optic cable system to increase its international connectivity, has revealed its intention to lay a second cable, the company’s chief executive officer Sarat Lallah said last Friday. The investment for the Lower Indian Ocean Network (LION) fibre-optic cable is being supported by a consortium made up of Orange Madagascar, MT and France Telecom, Lallah said. For its part, the Mauritian fixed line incumbent has invested around EUR7 million in phase one of the project which is expected to cost a total of EUR37 million. 
The CEO went on to say the second phase of the LION project will connect the cable with the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa where it will then be connected to the South Africa-East Africa-South Asia-Fibre Optic Cable (SEACOM), a 17,000km cable which reaches up to Marseilles in France. LION will also be connected to the 4,500km fibre-optic cable TEAMS (The East African Marine System), a Kenyan government partnership with the Emirates Telecommunication Establishment which links Mombasa to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. In the future LION is envisaged to be connected to the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), a 10,000km link which, once completed, will connect some 13 African countries, Lallah said.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 September 2009 13:09


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