The Zambian Development Agency (ZDA) has revealed that it has shortlisted eight companies interested in acquiring a stake in fixed line monopoly operator Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel). Those operators understood to have made the shortlist include South Africa's Telkom, Indian state-owned pair Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Portugal Telecom.
Rounding out the shortlist are four joint bids; a consortium of Russia's Vimpelcom and the telecoms arm of the Alfa Group, Altimo; a consortium of Egypt-based Orascom Telecom and its subsidiary Telecel Globe; Angola's UNITEL a consortium of Unitel and Angola Cables; and a consortium of Libya's LAP Greencom and LAP Green Networks.
The Zambian government will offer between 51% and 75% of Zamtel, and said that it received expressions of interest from more than 30 parties. The eight selected are now expected to start due diligence procedures on 2 November, with the sale process likely to be concluded in the first quarter of 2010. The long-planned privatisation of the telco has come in for criticism by opposition politicians, who argue that Zambians should hold a bigger stake in the company.