Geraldes exits MTC

As previously reported by the Windhoek Observer in June last year, MTC Managing Director, Miguel Geraldes, has exited the telecoms company after a nine-year stint.
Geraldes will be replaced by Chief Financial Officer, Thinus Smit, a 15-year-old veteran of the company, who will be acting in the role until a substantive appointment is made.
Board changes are also expected to reflect the new ownership at the company.
The developments at the mobile company follow shareholder changes, which have seen Luxembourg-registered Samba Luxco S.a.r.l. (Samba) taking up a 34 percent stake in MTC.
The future of the company, and that of the other executives, who were seconded by the previous Portuguese shareholder, remains unknown until Samba makes its intentions known, with regards to the local business, which it secured through the reduction of its interest in Africatel B.V. (Africatel).
Portugal Telecom held the MTC shareholding on behalf of Africatel, which in turn was majority-owned by Brazilian telecoms group, Oi.
Geraldes, a Portuguese national, assumed his role at MTC as part of a technical agreement between the Government of Namibia and Portugal Telecom, the founding shareholders of the company.
The Samba stake in MTC was previously held by Portugal Telecom, which was the technical partner of the State-owned entity, the Namibia Post and Telecommunications Holdings Limited (NTPH).
Although the shareholder changes have been approved by the Namibia Competition Commission, the deal is still to get the nod from NTPH, which holds the controlling 66 percent on behalf of Government.
The delays in approving the deal comes as Government has announced its intention to acquire the 34 percent now owned by Samba, basing its position on the first right of refusal clause, which is said to be part of the initial agreement.
Government’s move to pounce on the shares comes as speculation is rife that a grouping of influential individuals has also set its sights on the shareholding, with funding concerns likely to hamper any local entities’ plans to buy into the company, considering the hefty price tag that will be attached.
The local business sector interest comes amid increased calls for the localisation of the company.
MTC is a dominant player in the country’s mobile sector, with over two million subscribers, and is an attractive acquisition for any would-be investor.