THE Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has unconditionally granted final authorisation of a joint venture between Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) and Liquid Telecommunications Holdings Limited of Mauritius.
The US$30 million joint venture will be known as Liquid Telecommunications.
CCPC director of consumer and public relations Brian Lingela says the board of commissioners approved the transaction as it did not raise competition concerns in the fibre optic market.
In a statement released in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Lingela said investigations by the commission found that the proposed joint venture would not raise competition concerns in terms of increasing barriers to entry in the market.
“The board held that no market player was likely to be removed from the market as a result of the joint venture as Liquid Telecoms had no known presence in Zambia.” he said.
Mr Lingela said the board is of the view that despite CEC having 40 percent shares in the fibre optic market and enjoying dominance, it was unlikely that the company would abuse its dominance or engage in any anti-competitive conduct based on their market reputation and compliance to the Commission’s directives.
He said the transaction was unlikely to result in loss of jobs at CEC but instead the creation of the new company is likely to result in engagement of new staff.
In their deliberations, the board expressed hope that the transaction will result into some efficiencies particularly because Liquid Telecom has a regional reputati
on in the provision of fibre optic network from which CEC would benefit.
Mr Lingela said the proposed joint venture entails that CEC and Liquid Telecom will each have 50 percent equity capital in the new company, CEC Liquid Telecommunications Limited, which will be incorporated in Zambia. The two companies are expected to invest about US$30 million into the new company.
CEC is currently involved in the business of transmission, supply and distribution of electricity, and also provides wholesale of terrestrial internet bandwidth to licensed internet service providers and sale of leased bandwidth in Zambia.
Liquid Telecom is a Mauritian carrier-to-carrier company with presence in Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe and owns and operates one of the largest fibre optic networks in southern Africa.
The network is estimated to exceed 8,500 kilometres by the end of 2011 with access to submarine cables for onward connection to Europe and the Far East Asia
[Zambia Daily Mail]