Vodafone considers selling Ghana business to Vodacom

Vodafone Group Plc is considering options for its Ghana business as it focuses on reorganizing the group and paying down debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

The British telecommunications giant could sell its majority stake in the unit to Johannesburg-listed Vodacom Group Ltd., in which Vodafone is the biggest shareholder, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous as the plans are still private.

The West African country’s government will have to approve of any deal, they said.

Spokespeople for Vodafone and Vodacom declined to comment. Ghana’s Minister of Communications Ursula Owusu-Ekuful did not respond to phone calls nor a text message seeking comment.

Under Chief Executive Officer Nick Read, Vodafone has been focusing more on Europe and Africa to generate more income from core assets. The company recently sold units in New Zealand and Malta, and is targeting an initial public offering of its mobile-mast business in early 2021.

Vodafone has been steadily consolidating its Africa interests under Vodacom, in which it holds a 65% stake, selling a minority shareholding in Kenyan market-leader Safaricom Ltd. to the South African company in 2017.

Vodafone also told management of the Ghana business to report to Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub in April last year, another step toward bringing the company’s operations on the continent under one roof.

Vodafone holds a 70% stake in the Ghana business, with the balance held by the West African country’s government. The state has taken a proactive interest in the telecom sector, clashing with market leader MTN Group Ltd. over its dominance even after successfully pushing for a local listing of the business in 2018.

A deal with Vodacom is just one of several options and no decision has been taken, the people said.

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Vodafone considers selling Ghana business to Vodacom