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Telecoms M&A to settle the market

Paratus Telecom Group CEO, Barney Harmse (left) with Vox Telecom CEO: Jacques du Toit, safeguarding the proverbial piggy bank to settle the deal. Paratus announed this week it has acquired the full shareholding of Vox Telecom.

Paratus Telecom Group CEO, Barney Harmse (left) with Vox Telecom CEO: Jacques du Toit, safeguarding the proverbial piggy bank to settle the deal. Paratus announed this week it has acquired the full shareholding of Vox Telecom.

Paratus Telecom announced this week it has bought Vox Telecom for an undisclosed amount to bring some consolidation to the fragmented private telecommunications market.Vox Telecom is the successor company of Telkom Ericsson after it was bought out by a South African group. Telkom Ericsson was the company of a Namibian business icon, Fritz Glück, who despite being disabled and tied to a wheelchair, nevertheless founded and expanded a highly respectable company. “With this transaction, Paratus Telecom brings stability to a very unsettled telecommunication environment” said Paratus Group CEO, Barney Harmse shortly after the deal was announced. “Earlier this month, Vox Telecom concluded the sale of its Namibian operation to Paratus Telecom, the wholly-owned Namibian telecommunications operator for an undisclosed amount and includes all assets and full staff complement” said Paratus making the deal public this week. Talks between the two organisations commenced in 2013, with a view to combining the best of breed voice services offered by Vox Telecom Namibia, with Paratus Telecom’s established data network and infrastructure. 

Jacques du Toit, CEO of Vox Telecom, said “the synergies of the two companies can only be seen as a positive, bringing to the Namibian market competitive, comprehensive and complementary telecommunications services.” Spurred on by an increasingly competitive telecommunications landscape presented by the mobile and fixed line operators not only in Namibia, but across pan-Africa, makes this sale a significant win for Paratus Telecom; and enhances its product and service offering by integrating a voice capability with its already world-class data network.  Vox Telecom Namibia customers will also see the benefit of a single vendor for voice and data services. Harmse said “Three years ago, we started on a transition phase aimed at evolving us from being a traditional ISP into a fully-fledged telecommunications operator.  The finalisation of this acquisition completes this growth phase for Paratus Telecoms.” The acquisition of Vox Telecom Namibia will create a diversified product and services portfolio that can be delivered to the African continent and Paratus Telecoms’ corporate market. “Aside from the additional spectrum of technology offerings we have now obtained, we have acquired something much more valuable – people and human capital,” added Harmse.
“The philosophy at Paratus Telecoms is that the right people bring much more economic value than just the products and services that an organisation can offer. Service at the end of the day is about the people that do the work. People with the same passion and attitude for the industry. Skill sets alone do not cut it” he said adding that this acquisition enables them “to take full responsibility for the capabilities and experience we sell. We look forward to being even more proficient in the future.”

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.