Altech to sell ailing Nigerian unit, seeks partners for East African business.

By bne IntelliNews April 27, 2012
South African telecommunications group Allied Technologies Limited (Altech), which swung into full-year loss due to poor performance from East and West African operations, said it plans to sell its West African card voucher business and seeks equity partners for its struggling east African telecommunications unit, Business Day reported. The company reported a net loss of ZAR 502mn (EUR 50mn) for its fiscal year to end-February, compared to a profit of ZAR 225mn for the previous year, as it wrote off ZAR 830mn from the ailing businesses. Altech has started talks with potential buyers to sell its 70% stake in the Nigerian-based cellphone recharge vouchers company and a deal is expected to be reached in about two months, CEO Craig Venter was quoted as saying. If the negotiations fail, Altech will hold a controlled auction, he added. The Nigerian unit was negatively affected by mobile operators offering cheaper alternatives. In east Africa, Altech is looking for equity partners that will inject money into its data centre and fibre-optic cable businesses, reducing the burden on Altech. Venter said that Altech alone had been investing in its subsidiary Kenya Data Networks, while the other shareholder, Sameer Group, was not contributing. He added that he hopes for a turnaround in the East African business. Altech targets to double its annual revenue to ZAR 20bn in the next five years, with 35% of the extra ZAR 10bn expected to come from existing businesses and the rest will come via acquisitions and expansion into new business areas.

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