Africa’s Liquid Telecom has received a $180 million investment fund from U.K. development finance institution, CDC Group Plc as they expand broadband infrastructure across the continent.
CDC will now own a 10 percent stake in Africa’s largest fiber-network operator. The investment will see Liquid expanding its network to five new countries including Nigeria and Ethiopia, Chief Executive Officer, Nic Rudnic told Bloomberg.
“This is a capital-intensive business,” Strive Masiyiwa, Econet’s founder and majority shareholder, said. The plan was to seek a longer-term equity partner to back expansion into countries that don’t always offer a quick return on investment, he said.
The new deal by Liquid shelves the early public offering of Liquid in Johannesburg. It has close to 70,000 kilometres (43,500 miles) of network from Cape Town to Cairo. Strive says, a long-mooted billion-dollar share sale of the total Econet group in London remains a possibility.
“The listing option will always be there and we will follow instructions from the shareholders,” he said. “We are a profitable company and have enough capital and funding for the next few years.”
The telecom group last week announced $400 million investment fund to develop its network in Egypt for the next three years. Global technology companies like Google and Facebook are vying to establish affordable and resourceful high-speed internet in Africa. Google through its project loon initiative is constructing a high-flying balloon to connect people while Facebook has tried drones and satellites to expand internet coverage in the continent.
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