Desie Heita Windhoek-For businessman Vaino Nghipondoka, entering the telecommunications market is a corporate vision and strategy that has long been set for Profile Investment Holdings, the company that owns Profile Technologies. Profile Technologies owns 30 percent of MTN Namibia. The acquisition of 30 percent shareholding in MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile operator, is a fulfilment of those dreams. Nghipondoka is the chairman of MTN Namibia. “We meet here at executive committee level every second week to work at strategy and see how far we are. We work hand in hand under the leadership of our MD Elia Tsouros [the managing director for MTN Namibia and Botswana]. “We will paint this Namibia yellow,” Nghipondoka tells New Era. Beyond the personal wealth considerations, he says the quest now is to build technical capacity. “I want to take skills transfer to local people. Here we are building a child, we are just at the beginning, and we would keep evolving. We want to have MTN with a Namibian flavour and I am not here to window dress,” he says. He passionately talks about how mobile telecommunication is a necessity for many people across the country, whose desire to live in an area with reliable and affordable network coverage could even mean life or death. “There are parts of our country where there is no cellphone coverage ten metres from the main road. Areas where a person cannot call for transport or help to take someone to hospital in case of sickness or snakebite. Telecommunication is both a business and an essential service, just like water,” he says. Nghipondoka wants to demystify the notion that his company was handpicked for the shareholding to satisfy local ownership requirements. “We did not do any lobbying, we did not know anyone in that process, it was a process beyond our borders by MTN South Africa, a company that was looking for partners in Namibia,” he says. Furthermore, he points out that it was not by chance that they emerged as the preferred partner for MTN. This is largely because Profile Investment Holdings had, since its establishment, decided to be a diversified entity. The establishment of Profile Technologies as a subsidiary was on the basis that the business should not stand on tenders – corporate and government tenders. “We wanted to create a business that can stand on its own. Profile Investment Holdings has interests in car rentals, civil engineering, construction and ICT.” When MTN placed advertisements in newspapers for interested companies to apply for partnership, Profile Investment Holdings was ready. “To my understanding there were 60 companies, then eventually 10 companies. Throughout the process we were not involved and did not know what was happening. We just happen to be the company that ticks. Money was the last thing for consideration,” he says. Of course, having a very healthy balance sheet did help in convincing the financial institutions to finance the acquisition of the shares, Nghipondoka admits.
New Era Reporter
2018-03-19 09:17:56 10 months ago