Africa: Owner of Africa’s biggest smartphone brands to list

Africa: Owner of Africa’s biggest smartphone brands to list

A Chinese company that dominates the African smartphone market is preparing for a backdoor listing that will make it one of the Asian country’s biggest publicly traded mobile device makers.

Shenzhen Transsion Holdings, which accounts for nearly 30% of the African smartphone market, plans to transfer a controlling stake to Shenzhen-listed Shimge Pump Industry Group via an asset and share-swap deal, according to a stock exchange filing on Thursday.

The deal remains in negotiations but the closely held company — which sells phones under the Tecno brand among others — ultimately aims to gain Shimge’s stock listing, Transsion spokeswoman Li Huijun said.

Led by founder Zhu Zhaojiang, Transsion shipped nearly 12m smartphones to Africa in the first three quarters of last year, helping it leapfrog Samsung Electronics and Apple to become the largest player on the continent, according to researcher Canalys. The Chinese company has become the biggest seller in countries from Kenya and Nigeria to Senegal.

Few of China’s biggest smartphone vendors, from Huawei Technologies to Xiaomi, are publicly traded. Li said Transsion is still exploring options with Shimge Pump and no financial details have been finalised. Shimge Pump shares have been halted pending further announcements.

“One of the biggest reasons for their success was their distribution strategy where they managed to attract leading local resellers through the affordable offerings,” said Tarun Pathak, an analyst with Counterpoint Research.

Source:  Bloomberg LP (Via Tech Central)