Angolan President’s Eduardo dos Santos’ multibillionaire daughter Isabel is reportedly interested in taking over telecoms giant Telecel as it emerges political bigwigs are pushing for the ouster of Telecel Zimbabwe founding shareholder James Makamba and a group of other shareholders associated with him, believed to have been positioned in the company by former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Dos Santos, considered by Forbes Magazine to be the richest woman in Africa with a fortune worth over US$3,3 billion, has reportedly put out feelers to take over the company whose local operation is hotly contested by a motley group of shareholders.
Considered the richest and most powerful woman in Angola, dos Santos already has interests in a number of telecoms businesses mainly in Portugal and Angola.
According to international media reports, she has interests in Portugal where she owns close to 7% of oil and gas firm GalpEnergia along with Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim, and has a controlling stake in Portuguese cable TV and telecom firm Nos SGPS.
Media reports indicate she made a US$1,5 billion bid for Portugal Telecom (PT) SGPS SA, a company that owns a 25,7% stake in Brazilian telecom operator Oi.
As Isabel’s interest in the country’s third largest mobile provider by subscriber base grows, a bid to oust Makamba as Telecel board chairman and his allies has intensified as part of a protracted ownership wrangle spanning over more than 10 years.
Telecel is 60% owned by Telecel International while Empowerment Corporation (EC) — a coalition of various local groups — has 40%. Shareholders in ECare wrangling over the proposed sale of the stake to Brainworks.
According to the Telecel board chairman, the original EC shareholders include Affirmative Action Group, Indigenous Business Women Organisation, Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union, Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans’ Association, Zimbabwe Small-Scale Miners Association, Kestrel Corporation (Private) Limited and Integrated Engineering Group.
Makamba’s business partner and also Telecel board member, Jane Mutasa, recently made an urgent HighCourt appeal to bar the sale of the 40% shareholding held by EC in Telecel. She alleged Makamba had stolen the shares.
Makamba in a statement later pledged to resolve the internal shareholding squabbles.
Mutasa also had the proposed ascendency of President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwo to the position of Telecel CEO put on hold.