The Public Investment Corporation is likely to sell a portion of its Vodacom shares to black investors to bolster the mobile operator’s BEE rating.
This move, the Sunday Times reported, is needed to satisfy telecoms regulator ICASA’s requirement to bid for spectrum.
On Friday the Mail & Guardian reported a BEE consortium, involving former Vodacom executive Romeo Kumalo, plans to buy a portion of the PIC’s Vodacom shares.
PIC CEO Dan Matjila said the corporation, which has a 15% stake in Vodacom, was concerned about “Vodacom’s BEE numbers”, and that the deal would allow the network operator to “fix their house”.
When questioned about the potential transaction, Vodacom said it supports the government’s transformation objectives. It would not comment on the potential PIC deal, though.
ICASA’s plan for handing out valuable spectrum in the 800MHz and 2600MHz (or 2.6GHz) bands involve various requirements, including an HDI component of 30% black ownership in the company.
The company bidding for spectrum must also be an ECNS licence holder, and be financially credible with audited financial statements.
ICASA has said it would not encourage the use of a special purpose vehicle to make up the necessary 30% HDI component.
Vodacom previously planned to acquire Neotel, partly to gain access to its valuable spectrum, but the deal fell through.