Shareholders of Suntel looking to sell their stakes
Shareholders at Suntel Limited, one of the pioneering telecom firms in the country, are actively seeking an option to divest their shareholdings after being 10 years in the business.
Company sources said that the Swedish telecom giant Overseas Telecom AB, Metrocorp (Pvt) Ltd., Townsend Limited of Hong Kong, the National Development Bank, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are the shareholders exploring the possibility of selling their stakes.
Jeremy Huxtable, Managing Director and CEO of Suntel Limited told The Sunday Times FT that the company has done extremely well during last year and that shareholders are exploring several options including selling their stakes. “They feel it is the right time to realise their value,” he said, adding that they are currently discussing the options.
When The Sunday Times FT contacted Anders Ekman, CEO of Overseas Telecom which owns 55 percent of Suntel in Sri Lanka in Sweden, he confirmed that there are discussions taking place amongst interested parties, “There are about 10 parties who are interested and we are talking to them,” he said. He said that there is no fixed time line to complete the discussions.
Suntel sources said that originally there were 14 firms who wanted to buy Suntel and that Dialog Telekom is among the interested parties.
SLT stake eyed by Malaysian firm
A stake in Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is also to be sold by the end of the year possibly to Global Telecommunications Holdings NV, (GTH), a subsidiary of Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd, controlled by Ananda Krishnan, the Lankan-born Malaysian businessman. The NTT Corporation in Japan owning 35 percent stake made an announcement on Tuesday expressed interest in selling part of SLT.
SLT was also earlier discussing with a Middle Eastern firm, but that deal subsequently fell through. SLT is presently pursuing a strategy based on competitive pricing and has a 63 percent market share. Operating Profit for the year was Rs.12.7 billion on a Revenue of Rs. 40.7 billion.