Zimbabwe's Econet plots Botswana Mascom listing by October

FILE PHOTO: Econet Wireless Chairman and Founder Strive Masiyiwa takes part in a panel discussion titled "Investing in African Prosperity" at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

GABORONE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa plans to list part of his Botswana telecoms operator Mascom by October this year, he said on Tuesday, in what he expects to be one of the biggest flotations on the Gaborone bourse.

Masiyiwa, through his holding company Econet, is finalizing a $300 million deal with South African rival MTN Group to raise his stake in Mascom from 7 percent to 60 percent.

“This is what I have always wanted to do ...I have never held enough shareholding to push it through,” he told reporters.

He said more details would be provided in due course but said he anyone who can raise $10 should be able to buy shares in Mascom, which Econet valued at more than $600 million when it agreed to buy out MTN’s 53 percent holding.

Masiyiwa founded Mascom 21 years ago, a few months before he set up Econet in Zimbabwe. It is Botswana’s biggest mobile operator with 1.7 million customers. The remaining 40 percent of Mascom is owned by the Botswana Public Officers’ Pension Fund.

Reporting by Brian Benza, editing by Louise Heavens