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Vodafone to increase Vodacom stake

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Vodafone is to increase its stake in South African operator Vodacom to 50 per cent, according to reports, in a deal that will see it invest a further £1.35bn (around R16bn) in the company.

The UK-based operator said yesterday that it would buy up the shares of holding company VenFin for R47.25 each, around 30 per cent above market value. VenFin currently holds a 15 per cent stake in Vodacom. Vodafone then plans to sell off the company's other assets.

The remainder of the Vodacom shares are held by Telkom, the South African fixed line operator.

Vodafone appears to be concentrating its energies on emerging, rather than saturated, markets. Some 57 per cent of the South African population currently owns a mobile phone, making it a much more attractive growth prospect than, for example, Sweden, where Vodafone this week sold its operation to Norway's Telnor.

And last week, Vodafone spent £820m on a 10 per cent stake in Bharti, India’s largest mobile phone operator. ®

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