Dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL) plc has partnered with South African based Harith General Partners (Harith) a Pan African infrastructure investment firm which has pumped a whooping a $24.1 million (about K 18 billion) into Open Connect Limited (OCL) a subsidiary of conglomerate Press Corporation plc.
With the investment, Harith will become the biggest shareholder with 60% stake in OCL which is Malawi’s largest and only redundant fibre network provider to the domestic market.
The other major shareholder in OCL is Press Corporation Plc, the largest holding company in Malawi which is listed on both the Malawi Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange as a global depository receipt. Other shareholders in OCL include the Malawian Government, Old Mutual, NICO Holdings Plc and Investments Alliance Ltd.
In a statement, Harith Chief Executive Officer Tshepo Mahloele said as a leading investor in the telecoms sector on the continent, Harith believes partnering with a proven operator in Malawi and thus expanding its portfolio into East Africa, is a logical step in Harith’s investment strategy.
“With our investments in Main One in Nigeria and Dark Fibre Africa in South Africa, we have proved that access to fast, affordable communication is a massive growth enabler for African economies, and we believe OCL will continue to grow its market leading position in this part of our Continent,” said Mahloele.
PCL group chief executive officer (CEO) George Partridge said: “As a leading investor in Malawi, we are proud to partner with an investor of Harith’s stature in the next development phase of OCL.
“The introduction of Harith presents an exciting opportunity for OCL to grow from its already market leading position into an even more powerful force in the telecoms space in east Africa.”
Harith has made its OCL investment at a time when OCL was looking to upgrade its offering and thus continue to provide excellent connectivity to its customers and it is expected that the major revamp the network will undergo will ensure OCL maintains its competitive advantage.
Recently PCL announced a half year profit after tax of K23.08 billion representing a 227% increase and attributed most of the gain as a result of the disposal of a 60% stake in OCL to Harith amounting to K8.48 billion.
But the company said, notwithstanding the OCL deal, the Group still registered a remarkable 107% growth.