The saga surrounding Visafone purchase and later cancellation of Multilinks. Then Telkom sale of the company to Helios Towers. And then, then; it is still evolving! But it seems that one group of people are losing badly – the workers of Multilinks.
Helios Towers rents out towers so that telecommunication operators can provide network coverage and build. They do this largely in Africa with Nigeria as one of its big markets. Helios Towers is a division of a private equity firm founded by a Nigerian UK based Harvard graduate who also invested in First City Monument Bank before the crash. This company has quite a war chest under management. Tekedia confirms that Helios Investment Partners holds rights in Helios Towers as our previous report confirmed.
Tekedia reports that Multilinks workers are troubled over what has happened in the last few months, if not weeks. They are not sure that the new management will need them or if they are to sack them will even compensate them.
The workers are visibly concerned that the Helios Towers driven by private equity firm in London will take the short pathway of firing and not paying any compensation. They are expecting the worst with some are not even expecting any kind of compensation. Everything now depends on the clause in the sale of the company by Telkom to Helios.
What is certain is that problems loom as even those that will be retained cannot be sure how long this Multilink metamorphosis will end. The new management will not remove competition from GSM players which continue to undermine any efforts from the CDMA small players, including Multilinks. Multilniks is a losing entity and its loses is expected to continue in the already saturating Nigeria telecom sector.
Tekedia has stated the only way out of the CDMA players is to merge. But for now, the workers of Multilinks will have to live the next few weeks.