Seacom ‘no comment’ on FibreCo acquisition rumour

Seacom CEO Byron Clatterbuck

Seacom, which operates an undersea cable that connects Africa to Europe and Asia, is not commenting on speculation that it is in talks to buy South African fibre provider FibreCo Telecommunications.

A Seacom spokesman said the company “notes the reports circulating in the media about a possible transaction with FibreCo”.

“Seacom cannot comment at this stage. We are committed to keeping the market abreast of developments within our business and will provide information as soon as it becomes available,” the spokesman said. MyBroadband earlier reported that the parties were in talks.

Founded nine years ago, FibreCo is jointly owned by businessman Andile Ngcaba’s Convergence Partners, Dimension Data’s Internet Solutions and mobile operator Cell C. It operates national open-access fibre routes and has recently begun deploying fibre infrastructure in towns along these routes.

Seacom CEO Bryon Clatterbuck has said previously that the company is keen to pursue acquisitions that will give it direct access to metropolitan fibre infrastructure, including fibre-to-the-business networks.

“We are backed by some big players, so you could say the war chest is unlimited,” Seacom CEO Byron Clatterbuck said in late 2016. But they mustn’t be too big to integrate effectively into Seacom.

The acquisitions would be used to bolster Seacom’s fast-growing Seacom Business unit, which provides connectivity and related services to corporate customers, both directly and through partners.

Earlier this year, Seacom acquired Cape Town-based Internet service provider MacroLan for an undisclosed sum. This deal was “in line with Seacom’s strategy to extend the reach of its fibre network to more metropolitan areas across South Africa, as well as to bolster its managed services capability for business customers”, it said.

Seacom’s shareholders are South African businesses Remgro (30%), Sanlam (15%), Convergence Partners (15%), Kenya’s Aga Khan Foundation (30%) and founder Brian Herlihy (10%).

FibreCo expansion

TechCentral reported in July that FibreCo plans to connect towns on its national backhaul routes, starting with Kroonstad in the northern Free State.

“Given that only 5.4% of households in the province have access to the Internet at home and that only 9.9% have access at work, it’s clear that there is an urgent need to hasten access to high-speed broadband connectivity,” FibreCo said in a statement, citing research from Statistics South Africa.

Kroonstad is the first town along the FibreCo national fibre route between Johannesburg and Cape Town to have fibre rolled out by the company.  — © 2018 NewsCentral Media