Bharti, Tatas, RCOM officials in Kenya for 51% in Telkom

India’s leading telecom companies are on an African safari. Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and the Tatas are in the race to acquire a majority stake (51%) in Telkom Kenya.

It is learnt that their representatives (along with other global telcos) are currently in Kenya as part of the two-day Telkom Kenya bidders’ conference which kicked off in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The India companies will have to compete with other global majors such as British Telecom and Dubai-based Vtel Holding who are also learnt to be in the race. Last year both Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications had lost the race to acquire a mobile licence in Kenya.

All interested players will be asked to submit bids whose technical details will be examined by the Kenyan government between October 30 and November 6. The Kenyan government will announce the technically qualified bidders on November 6, which will be followed by the opening of the financial bids on November 8.

Just last month, the Kenyan government had agreed to double the stake for sale in Telkom Kenya to 51% after repeated requests from potential investors. However, as per the terms specified by the Kenyan government, the successful bidder (over a period of time) would have to reduce its stake to 40% by selling 11% shares to the public.

At the same time, the government will also divest a further 19% to the public. This implies, the final shareholding pattern of Telkom Kenya would be 30% by the government, 40% by the successful bidder and 30% by the public.