More fibre plays in SA: Talk swirls over Investec, RMB seeking Vox disposal

JOHANNESBURG — Over the last few years, there’s been a fibre-broadband rush in South Africa’s major urban areas as consumers look to ditch slow and expensive ADSL lines for faster fixed-line Internet. And after Johann Rupert-linked Remgro‘s decision to buy part of fibre provider Vumatel, the owners of Vox Telecom – RMB and Investec – see an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and sell the company, according to this Bloomberg report. Of course, it’s just speculation at this stage, but it will be interesting to see who the possible suitors could be if the companies decide to go ahead with the sale. – Gareth van Zyl

By Loni Prinsloo

(Bloomberg) – Vox Telecom Ltd. shareholders are looking to sell the South African fibre-network provider for about R3 billion ($228 million) to take advantage of consolidation in the industry, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Owners including FirstRand Ltd.’s Rand Merchant Bank and lender Investec Ltd. see an opportunity to exit, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. That’s after a unit of Remgro Ltd., the investment vehicle of South Africa’s richest man, Johann Rupert, bought part of fibre provider Vumatel Pty Ltd. earlier this month, showing there’s appetite for deals in the industry.

Fiber-to-home is booming in South Africa’s biggest cities as new entrants and infrastructure bring down the cost of high-speed internet.

Vox, RMB and Investec declined to comment.

RMB and Investec were part of a group led by Lereko Metier that bought Vox for R452 million in 2011. The owners considered a share sale on Johannesburg’s stock exchange in 2014, but didn’t attract a valuation at which they wanted to sell. Vox has since invested in expanding and building its services, said the people.

The Johannesburg-based company had earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of about R300 million during its latest financial year.

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