Mobile Broadband Limited, trading as Vodafone Zambia, says the delay in capital injection to the company has led to some areas experiencing network outages.
In joint-statement issued by brand and corporate communications manager Mutale Kapaso and assistant Mwangala Ikacana, Vodafone stated that the withholding of funds by some shareholders of Afrimax Holdings, the holding company, had led to Vodafone to experience financial distress.
“Mobile Broadband Limited, trading as Vodafone Zambia, launched its operations in 2016, introducing the first 4G high-speed mobile Internet network into the Zambian market. It grew rapidly on account of its next generation innovation on products and services offered to customers. Unfortunately, the withholding of funds by shareholders of the holding company – Afrimax Holdings BV in 2017 led to the company undergoing financial distress, which led to employees petitioning the Court for Business Rescue, while it embarked on a process of obtaining new shareholders,” read the statement.
“Vodafone Zambia commenced Business Rescue proceedings following the approval of the same by the High Court on 15th October, 2018. Through the supervision of the Business Rescue Administrator (BRA) and the Court, a Business Rescue Plan was developed for implementation. The plan encompasses restructuring of the company’s affairs, business, property, debt and other liabilities and equity in a manner that maximizes the company’s continued existence and growth on a financially sound basis, resulting in a better return for all its stakeholders. This process also provided MBL a temporary moratorium or stay on the rights of claimants against the company enabling management and employees to focus on the company’s recovery.”
But Vodafone expressed confidence that the introduction of the business rescue process would grow the company.
“The introduction of the Business Rescue Process by the Government of the Republic of Zambia is provided for in Part III of The Corporate Insolvency Act, 2017. This provision is a major milestone for Zambia and places her at the forefront of implementing a positive, progressive mechanism that supports companies that have evident underlying strengths to weather temporary challenges, so that they continue to play an important role in the economy. With this process in place, we are confident and convinced that MBL will bounce back stronger and more competitive in the Zambian ISP (Internet Service Provider), and soon, voice market,” read the statement.
“During this Business Rescue process the BRA, Management, Employees, Stakeholders and with the assistance of key suppliers, have kept the business running to enable service provision to our customers as well as ensure that MBL is saleable to its soon to be new owners, a process we are confident to close by August 2019.”
Vodafone assured that when the acquisition was eventually done, the struggling network’s outages would be resolved.
“It is also important to note that due to the delay in capital injection, some of our areas with network coverage have consequently experienced network outages. The arrival of new shareholders is expected to inject capital funding that will enable MBL to expand its operations countrywide and launch the long-awaited voice and SMS services,” read the statement.
“We take this opportunity to sincerely apologize for the continued network outages we are still experiencing in some areas of Lusaka and the Copperbelt. With the acquisition process soon finalizing, these outages will soon be resolved.”
By press time, Vodafone subscribers were still receiving text messages that read: “Dear customer, kindly note that we are currently experiencing a general outage affecting service due to a challenge with our IP transit. Updates will be shared.”