Allied Technologies (Altech) has exercised its option to dispose of its interests in Liquid Telecommunications.

Effective 28 February 2013, Altech concluded an agreement with Liquid, in terms of which Altech acquired 8,6% of Liquid’s issued share capital in exchange for Altech’s interests in its East African network assets and the cash subscription of $16,5-million.

At that time, the 8,6% equity stake was valued at $5-million (R454-million at an exchange rate of R9.07 to the US dollar).

Now, Altech, an indirectly wholly owned subsidiary of Altron, has exercised its put option and has entered into an agreement with Econet Wireless Global to dispose of its 8,6% equity interest in Liquid for a cash consideration of $55-million.

The disposal is subject to approval by the Altron board.

Liquid is an independent telecommunications provider for international, voice, internet and data traffic, supplying fibre, satellite and international carrier services to fixed and mobile telecommunications operators, Internet service providers and enterprises in developing countries.

Liquid operates and owns one of Africa’s most extensive fibre optic networks spanning more than 13 000km, which provides services to customers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and South Africa.

Following the delisting of Altech and the creation of the Altron Telecommunications, Multi-media and Information Technology division (Altron tmt), both the Altron and Altech boards no longer consider Altech’s 8,6% equity interest in Liquid to be core to the ongoing operations of the Altron group.

The cash consideration from the disposal will be used to reduce the Altron group’s net debt position following the scheme of arrangement between Altron and Altech, completed on 19 August 2013.

Notwithstanding the disposal, the Altron group will continue to explore areas of common commercial interest and co-operation with the Econet/Liquid group in Africa.