June 26, 2018 / 1:37 PM / in 4 months

Vodafone to list Ghana unit on local stock market after debt restructuring

ACCRA (Reuters) - Vodafone’s (VOD.L) Ghana business plans to list on the local stock market after restructuring its loans, the head of the local unit told Reuters on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Branding for Vodafone is seen on the exterior of a shop in London, Britain, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Yolanda Zoleka Cuba said Vodafone was in talks with the West African country, which owns a 30 percent stake, to restructure its debt.

The world’s largest mobile group by revenue paid $900 million for a 70 percent stake in state-run Ghana telecom in 2008 while the government retained the remaining 30 percent with an enterprise value of around $1.3 billion at the time.

The company had said plans to return the business to profit after an additional $1.2 billion investment were hampered by Ghana’s failure to fulfil its financial obligations as minority holder.

“There has been some movement now and the government has shown commitment with resolving the debts. They have given us a letter of undertaking around the restructuring of the company’s debt and that’s where we are now,” Cuba said.

Cuba said although Vodafone Ghana has yet to make profit since the acquisition, it has grown and invested “significantly” to modernise its services, including the launch of a nationwide fibre optic network.

Vodafone is the third largest mobile network in Ghana with around nine million subscribers after South Africa’s MTN and AirtelTigo, a merger of Millicom International Cellular’s Tigo and India’s Bharti-Airtel. Others are Globacom of Nigeria and Sudan’s Sudatel Expresso.

Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo, editing by Louise Heavens and David Evans

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