24th May, 2011: Wananchi Group Holdings, East Africa’s leading provider of Pay-Tv, broadband internet and VoIP services has today announced a robust business strategy that includes regional expansion and business development.
Early this week, the Group announced a Kes.5 billion shilling financial boost from a group of international investors bringing to Kes.14 billion; the total amount of capital injected into the Group in the last three years. New investors in the financing round include Liberty Global Inc., one of the world’s largest cable companies, Oppenheimer Funds, and Sarona Asset Management, a Canadian-based emerging markets fund manager seeking impact investments. Existing Wananchi investors following on in the round include East Africa Capital Partners (EACP), a leading East African private equity firm focusing on telecoms, media and technology sectors, and Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), a leading Pan-African private equity firm with $1.8 billion in capital under management.
Speaking at a media briefing in Nairobi, Wananchi Group CEO Richard Bell said that the funds would be channeled towards developing the company’s fibre infrastructure which is being rolled out in phases.
“Our goal is to become the leading telecommunications and home entertainment company in the region. Through our various platforms, we can offer customers internet, voice and pay TV services at an affordable price,” said Mr.Bell.
The Group, which is the country’s first Triple Play provider, is looking to grow its cable subscriptions significantly by the end of the year.
“Triple Play is a product that allows a customer to access high quality pay TV, superior broadband internet and voice in one package at affordable prices and the Wananchi Group is the only company in the region offering the product,” he added.
The funds will also be used to support the launch of Wananchi’s direct-to-home satellite PayTV offering in the greater East Africa region to 10 countries; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia.
“In the ten countries we are targeting, pay TV penetration is presently at less than 1% and we recognize that there is a need for affordable quality content which is suitable for the entire family. We also recognize that customers’ tastes and needs are evolving and there is greater pressure on companies to provide affordable quality products which offer value for money. Our satellite and cable offerings have therefore been designed to cater to meet this need,” he further noted.
Mr Bell stated that the Group was not focusing on the DSTV market, “We are bringing to East Africa a world class Pay TV channel that will offer a huge range of variety in movies, sports, documentaries, family and local programmes at a very affordable price. Our products will be affordable and accessible to a very wide market and we are thrilled that we can give people a new home entertainment experience, that will offer great value and extremely high quality and variety.”
Wananchi presently services the retail and corporate markets in East Africa through its consumer and corporate divisions. Wananchi's consumer division operates under the ‘Zuku’ brand and provides Kenya’s only ‘triple-play’ bundle including 100 channels Pay-Tv, broadband Internet and VoIP phone services. Wananchi's corporate division, which operates under the ‘SimbaNET’ brand, is a leading provider of VSAT and data solutions to corporations in greater East Africa.
Notes to editors:
About Wananchi Group Holdings
Established in 2007, the Wananchi Group (WG) is the first competitive triple-play provider in East Africa, and is positioned to become the premier media operator in the region. WG is a holding company providing common senior management to seven cable and broadband companies in Kenya and Tanzania. The Company has already achieved significant milestones in its less than two years of operations, including:
Market leader with first mover advantage: Through its strategic acquisitions, WG is now the leading residential provider of cable and internet service in Kenya as well as the leading business communications provider in Tanzania.
30%+ Take-up rate among consumers: Today WG’s 187km of cable network passes approximately 37,000 homes in Kenya.
Prominent international and regional shareholders: In addition to the involvement of EACP, ECP and OPIC (The Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the US Government) Wananchi Group can count prominent East Africans among its shareholders, including executives of the biggest financial and communications companies in the region.