Scott Gegenheimer, CEO of Kuwaiti telecoms company Zain Group, has reportedly revealed the group’s interest in increasing its stake in Moroccan telecoms provider Wana, which trades under the ‘Inwi’ brand. According to Agence Ecofin, Gegenheimer told reporters at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) that Zain Group hopes to acquire additional shares from Moroccan investment fund Societe Nationale d’Investissement (SNI), which currently owns 69% of Wana’s shares, as ‘the company is very well managed’. Zain Group holds its own 15.5% stake in the operator through a 50/50 joint venture with Morocco’s Al Ajial Investment Fund Holding.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October 2013 Gegenheimer said that the company was looking to expand in North Africa by taking controlling stakes in companies or winning management contracts in the region. Gegenheimer described the region as a good fit for Zain’s existing portfolio in terms of branding and operational synergies, adding: ‘North Africa looks very interesting and there are always opportunities coming up. We are looking across the board, whether it is Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco – increasing our stake there would be interesting for us.’ Gegenheimer also admitted that Libya would be a good fit for Zain’s portfolio, adding that ‘[Zain] would be interested in pretty much anywhere in North Africa’.