Liquid Telecom Receives $180 Million Investment

Liquid Telecom has been given a $180 million cash injection by the U.K. development finance institution CDC Group Plc as Africa’s largest fiber-network operator installs broadband infrastructure across the continent.

The Chief Executive Officer at Liquid Telecom, Nic Rudnic said that the investment would grant the London-based CDC a stake of close to 10 percent in Liquid, which is majority-owned by Zimbabwe’s Econet.
The funding would also allow Liquid to broaden its network in five new countries including Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Econet’s majority shareholder and founder, Strive Masiyiwa commented that because of the capital-intensive nature of the business, the plan was to find a long-term equity partner to back the expansion into countries that are known not always to offer a quick return on investment.

The deal has placed on hold the need for an initial public offering of the Johannesburg-based Liquid, which has approximately 70,000 kilometres (43,500 miles) of network running all the way from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo. However, a long-proposed share sale of the entire Econet group in London still remains a possibility, according to Econet’s founder.

He said that the listing option would always be there and that the firm would follow instructions from the shareholders. However, Masiyiwa did add that Econet continues to be a profitable company and still has more than enough funding and capital for the next few years.

Econet’s other subsidiary entities include Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Ltd., which is listed in Harare and is valued at $5.6 billion.

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