Telecoms & ICT

LAP Green seeks to revitalize African telco ambitions

LAP Green Network, the telecoms holding company owned by the Libyan African Portfolio (LAP) is committing to inject a lifeline of US$ 65 million into its majority owned Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL). This badly needed financial jab will get the telco out of its current financial quagmire. UTL is co-owned between LAP Green (69 per cent shareholding) and the Government of Uganda (31 per cent).

UTL was curved out of the former Government of Uganda owned Uganda Posts & Telecommunications, itself a child of the East African Post & telecommunications which collapsed in the 1970, following the dissolution of the East African Unity. In 1998, The Uganda Post & Telecommunications was broken up into Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL) and Uganda Posts Limited (UPL), during the privatization years. In 2007, the Government of Uganda subsequently sold majority shareholding (69 per cent) to the Libyans , while the government retained 31 per cent shareholding.

If indeed LAP Green Network injects the money into the ailing UTL that will be the clearest sign yet, that the Libyan government owned entity is nursing ideas of reviving its Quaddafi days glory. This will be a demonstration that LAP Green is not about to let go its investment that were severely affected by the fall of the Muammar Quadaffi regime in 2011.During the Quadaffi time, LAP Green nursed ambitions to pan African investment that saw them snap up and own several telcos in Africa.
At some point LAP Green had operational subsidiaries in Uganda (Uganda Telecom Ltd [UTL]), Cote d’Ivoire (GreenN Cote d’Ivoire), South Sudan (Gemtel) and in Sierra Leone (Ambitel). LAP Green investments in Zambia, Chad, Niger, Rwanda and Togo were all seized by the governments following the obligation imposed on all countries by  UN sanctions in 2011 on Quaddafi and Libyan investment.
“We are determined to support our investments and to develop them to be healthier and profitable investments for both the Libya and Ugandan stakeholders,”Youniss Bishare, the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio manager, said recently in Kampala.

Towards the end of 2014, LAP Green relocated its corporate headquarters to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, partly to remake itself more as a multinational corporate entity separate from the operation of the Government in Tripoli (which itself is in a sorry state), but also to a more secure environment so that it can have the peace to operate as a multinational.

According to an online magazine Telegeography, “The company (LAP Green), which saw its pan-African expansion ambitions derailed by the fall of the Gaddafi regime and the imposition of United Nations (UN) sanctions, has struggled to reassert itself in recent years, but the establishment of a new headquarters seems likely to usher in a new era for LAP Green.”

In 2014 LAP Green was linked with interests to acquire Orange Uganda and SOTEL in Chad but nothing much came out of those interests. TeleGeography also reported that LAP Green had previously designated Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea as markets in which its pursuit of mobile licences was ‘ongoing’.

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