Angola’s Unitel Board Wants to Oust Africa’s Richest Woman
By CultureBanx Team
Isabel dos Santos owns a 25% stake in Unitel
Other shareholders want to cut down on the influence of dos Santos
Africa’s richest woman Isabel dos Santos has been re-elected to the board of Unitel, Angola's biggest telecommunications company but not without controversy. The decision comes after speculation that dos Santos could have been ousted due to a shareholder dispute.
Why This Matters: Ownership of Unitel is split equally between Isabel dos Santos, Oi, Sonangol and Leopoldino do Nascimento, each has a 25% stake in the company. Sonangol recently started making waves on the board by hinting at possibly selling its stake, and wanted to cut down the influence dos Santos had at the company.
Specifically, the dissention among the board came after a court ruled that Oi was entitled to receive $654 million from other shareholders. The court said they violated several clauses of an agreement among Unitel shareholders and Oi didn’t receive dividends it was owed.
The daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Isabel amassed a fortune during her father’s almost four-decade rule. As the current Unitel chairwoman she has an estimated net worth of about $2 billion, according to Bloomberg.
If she doesn’t get re-appointed as chairwoman this wouldn’t be her first fall from grace since President Joao Lourenco took office in September 2017. He’s already fired dos Santos as chairwoman at Sonangol. Lourenco has worked relentlessly against corruption and to dismantle the influence of his predecessor’s family over key sectors.
What’s Next: The new board will take office on May 6 and elect a new chairperson. Newly appointed Unitel board members will serve until 2021.
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