Nigeria’s Communications Commission (NCC) has threatened to withdraw Capcom’s certificate of approval in principle- which allows them to operate as a telecommunications company in the country.
The move from the regulator comes on the back of inordinate delays in concluding the acquisition of three Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators by Capcom.
According to This Day, “Capcom had in 2012 announced the acquisition of Starcomms, in addition to MultiLinks, and MTS First Wireless, that it had earlier acquired. The plans then were to merge the three operators into one big and strong CDMA operator called Capcom.”
Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah explained that while the NCC issued the company with a certificate of approval in principle, it can just as easily remove it from them.
“NCC has the mandate as a regulator to withdraw the approval in principle, if it discovers that Capcom can no longer conclude the transaction it started since 2012 to acquire Starcomms and merge it with MultiLinks and MTS First Wireless,” he said.
Juwah explained that Capcom had not yet been given a time frame within which the merger should be finalised, but was quick to add that the NCC would act swiftly if there was no progress.
“We are yet to give Capcom an ultimatum on a specific number of weeks or months to complete the transaction of acquiring the three CDMA operators, but if after some time we are convinced that they cannot go further, we will issue them ultimatum on the length of period we will want them to conclude the transaction, and if they fail to meet up, then we will have no other choice than to withdraw the approval in principle that was given to Capcom.”
However, Juwah conceded that the NCC was aware of a number of elements that could be hampering the merger.
“As a regulator, we feel like stepping into the matter, but by law, we cannot interfere in the matter, because it is strictly a commercial dispute between the lead company, which is Starcomms, and the new owners, which is Capcom. Since we do not have the mandate to interfere in such issues, we are waiting for them to resolve it amicably within themselves and give us their next line of action as to whether they are going ahead with the merger or they are pulling out of the entire arrangement of acquiring the three CDMA companies.”
In conclusion, Juwah stated that the licence would be given to other parties if it is found that Capcom was no longer willing to conclude the planned merger.
“If we are certain that Capcom cannot continue with the transaction, then we as a regulator, will be willing to give licence to any other interested company that has the capacity to buy the companies and run them effectively.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor