By Gugu Lourie
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) regulator have given green light on Telkom’s proposed R2.7bn acquisition of Business Connexion (BCX), although the South African fixed-line telephone group is still waiting for approval from the local regulators.
“We wish to inform shareholders that the COMESA Competition Commission has unconditionally approved the proposed transaction,” Telkom and BCX said in a statement on Monday.
However, the transaction is till awaiting approval from South Africa’s regulators – Competition Authorities; the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the issue of a compliance certificate by the Takeover Regulation Panel.
Comesa was founded in order to facilitate the region’s sustained development through economic integration and is a free trade area of 19 member states, including Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. An important part of this economic integration is the promotion of competition and a common approach to competition regulation.
BCX, the fast-growing technology group, has operations in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, and regulatory approval was required from the COMESA competition watchdog.
BCX is on an African foray – the technology firm is snapping up assets across the continent.
The rationale for the deal is to create an ICT company, which will address the technology and communication needs of South African businesses, according to Telkom.
Telkom will technically be using BCX’s existing footprint and targeted markets to recapture its lost South African market.
BCX is a leading IT service provider in South Africa, provides strong presence in East Africa and has an established presence in West Africa, which it continues to grow through aggressive acquisitions.
BCX is also the largest employer of ICT skills in Africa with close to 7 000 employees, who have vast experience in delivering large projects on the continent.
The 33-year-old business is also an African leader in cloud services. Through the merger of UCS and Canoa, BCX has the largest ICT support services footprint with more than 1 000 skilled engineers.