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Shares in Liquid are like $135m cash: Mboweni

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (EZW) CEO Douglas Mboweni has described the company’s equity stake in Liquid Telecom Holdings, which is just under 10% as “a US$135 million forex reserve”.

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT

Speaking about the flip up, which saw the company take up a stake in Liquid Telecom Holdings Mboweni said, “How many companies in Zimbabwe can say they have an asset on their balance sheet valued at $135 million in United States dollars?”

He added: “The recent acquisition of a stake (which is just over 10%) in Liquid Telecom by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), one of the most respected sovereign wealth funds, not only validated the original valuation, but it shows that this is a very real asset denominated in US dollars.”

The EWZ CEO said that while the company would not sell the stake, it gave Econet additional options. 

“Everyone knows that it is very difficult to get your hands on foreign exchange in this country right now. But with this asset we have options to raise forex when we need it,” he said. 

“Right now we need money to upgrade to 5G, and this asset could help us get there. This is a huge lifeline to this business.”

Speaking about the recent demerger and separate listing of Cassava from Econet, Mboweni said spinning off Cassava did not mean that Econet Wireless would lose its innovative edge. 

“We have a huge pipeline of innovations that we will roll out that will transform the industry completely. We don’t talk about them until we are ready to bring them to the market,” he said. 

Cassava was spun off and successfully listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on December 18, and is now worth almost $4 billion. 

Its debut on the ZSE makes it the most successful initial listing in Zimbabwean history.

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