Regional telecom firms make new acquisitions

| 09/02/2011

(CNS): Both Cable & Wireless (CWC) and Digicel have acquired stakes in communication companies recently the firms have announced. Cable& Wireless has signed an agreements with The Bahamas government to acquire a 51% interest in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited (BTC) while Digicel has taken a controlling stake in Netxar Technologies, a systems integrator in the Caribbean region. CWC said that BTC will form a key plank of LIME’s business and Digicel says its involvement with Netxar will see customers optimising their ICT infrastructure and save money.

CWC said its deal with BTC was subject to a number of conditions including parliamentary and regulatory approvals but it expected to close the transaction by the end of March. The firm stated that it has worked with the Bahamian Government to develop a business and restructuring plan for BTC to improve and expand its services and increase its customer focus. The 51% share has cost CWC US$210 million and it has been given three years before the liberalisation process of the mobile sector starts in the country.

Tony Rice, CWC’s Chief Executive, said that BTC is a business with strong prospects, well positioned in one of the region’s largest economies. “It will form a key part of our LIME business, benefitting from our regional platform and scale, while maintaining its Bahamian character,” he said. “Our immediate focus will be on preparing the business for competition. We intend to improve its networks, introduce new services and move it to a cost base able to sustain the business in a competitive environment.

Meanwhile Digicel said it will be working immediately to achieve even greater business success and market share as the region’s newest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) powerhouse. It said Netxar had built “a fantastic track record.”
President and CEO of Netxar, Frank Santiago, said that for years, corporate and public sector customers have been searching for a business partner who can deliver both world class telecommunication services and ICT solutions. “Now, customers will benefit from technology solutions that leverage their IT framework as a competitive advantage while reducing operational costs and increasing productivity,” he said. “The support and involvement of Digicel which, in ten short years, has had such a positive impact on the Caribbean communications space will see us delivering even better solutions to an even broader range of corporate customers.”

Kevin White, COO of Digicel Group added that since the firm had started focusing on delivering ICT solutions to Caribbean corporate customers in 2007, it had made big inroads and in Jamaica Digicel serves over 70% of the corporate market.
The accusation he said will: “See us increasing our ICT presence across the Caribbean and Central America and offering customers a broader and deeper product portfolio backed by Digicel’s award-winning customer service. Our customers are set to benefit from being with the region’s newest ICT powerhouse,” he added.


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