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Bahrain telecoms in talks to buy C&W assets, including the Falklands

Tuesday, September 18th 2012 - 06:06 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Batelco also has mobile subscribers in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan Batelco also has mobile subscribers in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan

Bahrain Telecommunications Co is in talks with Cable & Wireless Communications to buy its assets in Monaco and a host of island nations, including the Falklands Islands, a deal potentially worth around 1 billion dollars, three banking and industry sources said, reported in the Emirates media.

Batelco, whose move to buy a stake in Zain Saudi collapsed last year, is circling the Monaco & Islands portfolio of CWC, the British telecoms group operating in the Caribbean and formed through a de-merger of Cable & Wireless in 2010.

Talks between both the parties are ongoing and a deal is not imminent the sources said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

Batelco and CWC confirmed the talks in separate statements, saying there was no guarantee a deal would be reached. CWC shares were up 4.5% in late trading.

BNP Paribas and Citigroup are advising Batelco on the transaction, while J.P. Morgan Chase is advising the seller, two of the banking sources said.

Citi is leading financing efforts for the transaction, according to one banker.

“Batelco has been keen to do a deal for a while now to address falling home revenue. A potential deal to buy CWC assets should give them presence in markets they are not in currently,” one the sources said.

Monaco & Islands operates in 12 markets, including the Maldives, Seychelles and Falkland Islands, and offers fixed-line, mobile, broadband and television services. Its brands include Monaco Telecom, Dhiraagu in the Maldives, and Sure in Britain's Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Monaco Telecom also holds a 36.8% stake in Roshan, a mobile phone operator in Afghanistan. The CWC unit generated 586 million dollars revenue in the group's 2011/12 year when it had earnings before interest, dividend, tax and amortization of 186 million dollars, according to its website.

Monaco & Islands had 543.000 mobile subscribers as of end-March and 125.000 fixed-line subscribers. Batelco aims to make at least one acquisition in 2012 to offset falling domestic revenue, its chief executive told Reuters in April.

It had cash and bank balances of 286 million, according to its 2011 annual report, and could leverage its balance sheet to 1 billion or more for acquisitions, the CEO said.

The company teamed up with Saudi group Kingdom Holding to buy a 25% stake in Zain Saudi last year but the deal failed due to disagreements with the indebted Saudi telco's banks.

Batelco owns Jordanian telecoms operator Umniah. It holds 27% of Yemeni mobile operator Sabafon, minority stakes in internet providers in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and is also active in Egypt.

CWC, which had to cope with a faster-than-expected shift from voice services data, halved its dividend in May and said it was not seeing consistent recovery in the Caribbean. Its shares have risen 30% in the past three months, narrowing year-to-date losses to 4.3%.

On July 3, European Union regulators cleared British mobile provider Vodafone's 1 billion pound acquisition of fixed-line network operator Cable & Wireless Worldwide CWP.L

CWW, which split from CWC two years ago, provides voice, data and hosting services to British government departments and companies while its cables span the globe.

Categories: Investments, International.
Financial Tags: CW.

Top Comments

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  • DanyBerger

    I guess that BBC and SkyNews suddenly will be dropped and replaced by Al Jazeera & Russia Today news in the Islands.

    Sep 18th, 2012 - 07:47 am 0
  • lsolde

    Maybe, Danyboy.
    And probably more truthful than your Argentine newspapers(“we're winning”-1982, ha ha ha).

    Sep 18th, 2012 - 09:55 am 0
  • LEPRecon

    @1 - Dany

    Are you still scared of the big, bad muslims? Aw, diddums.

    As for this telecoms company, I doubt much will change, will it? I mean in order to make money it's supply and demand. There's no point supply stuff that no one will want, is it?

    As for the BBC, Sky and CNN, they'll still be shown in the Falklands, just like they get shown in the middle east.

    Pity no one thinks Argentina's news service is worth anything, isn't it?

    Sep 18th, 2012 - 11:03 am 0
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