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e.tv ON AN AFRICAN SAFARI

Diversified business conglomerate Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) says it has plans to broadcast SA free-to-air material to other African countries.

HCI owns 63% of MidiTV – which runs e.tv. Rupert family-controlled Venfin owns 31,5%. Other operations in the HCI stable include Golden Arrow Bus Services, limited payout machines (LPM) firm Vukani Gaming Corporation, 25,1% of dairy business Clover, a controlling stake in Tsogo Investment Holdings (TIH), which controls the Tsogo Sun empire, and a 39,7% stake in rival Tsogo shareholder Johnnic Holdings.

Speaking on Moneyweb Radio Monday evening, HCI CEO Johnny Copelyn said HCI’s “vision [for e.tv] is to grow the company into Africa”.

“Our next step is to do exactly that – to start to broadcast into some of the other African territories,” said Copelyn of e.tv, which increased its operating profit by 19% to R70m in the six months to end-September 2005.
Asked whether any potential takeover targets had been identified, Copelyn said people have to wait and see: “But without question, we are moving heavily down the track of expanding e.tv’s signal into other countries, and negotiating rights to do that.”

In terms of a destination for e.tv, west African business hub Nigeria seems a hot contender, according to Copelyn: “I would say Nigeria is definitely the heart of West Africa economically, and I don’t think you can get anywhere in Africa if you don’t go into Nigeria.

Sasfin’s David Shapiro is an HCI fan: “It’s a great company with a wonderful set of businesses underneath, good brand names and doing exceptionally well. I think they’ve proved that they can manage companies and that they’re good managers, and I think they’ve got a very good name. So let’s see what they can do in Nigeria. I think Nigeria is ripe…it’s open.”

HCI shares were trading 0,7% lower yesterday afternoon at R32, 50 each.

This story first appeared in Moneyweb Business in the Citizen

Source: Moneyweb – Ana Monteiro