Libyan state-owned telecoms investment firm LAP Green Network (LAP GreenN) has responded to a move by the government of Uganda to take control of its 69% stake in struggling fixed and mobile operator Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL). According to a report from the Libya Herald, LAP GreenN is blaming the Kampala authorities for the telco’s current problems and says it will contest any moves that undermine its position as a shareholder. LAP GreenN, which is itself controlled by the Libyan Post, Telecommunication and IT Company (LPTIC), says it has been working with Uganda for 14 months to reach a deal on a rescue package, but an agreement was not forthcoming due to ‘institutional unwillingness’ within the Ugandan government.
Meanwhile, a report from the Ugandan newspaper The Independent cites the LPTIC’s chairman, Faisel Gergab, as saying that UTL would need USD48 million to turn around its business, which is struggling with high levels of indebtedness. He says the funding could have come from the sale of mobile towers and direct investment from LAP GreenN, though the government’s move to oust the Libyan firm from UTL means LAP GreenN has suspended all investment in Uganda. LAP GreenN originally took a 69% interest in UTL in April 2007 when it acquired holding company UCOM.