MTNL puts overseas acquisition on hold, keen to parnter BSNL

Last Updated: Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 19:00

New Delhi: State-run MTNL has put its
overseas acquisitions plans on the backburner for the time
being as it decides to focus on improving its marketshare in
Delhi and Mumbai--the only places where it operates.
"Right now we don`t have any plans ... I am concentrating
on my in-house business more... We are doing very well in
Nepal and Mauritius, which are going to fetch good revenues.
It is not that we have all together stopped. For some time we
are not very active," MTNL CMD RSP Sinha told agency.

However, the NYSE listed company has expressed its
desire to partner its big brother PSU BSNL in their overseas
acquisition, especially in the emerging markets. The PSU has a
mobile subscriber base of 44 lakh and is eyeing 50 lakh before
the fiscal end. MTNL shares were trading at Rs 73.85, down
0.94 per cent.
"If BSNL is looking towards them (emerging markets) for
acquisitions, we would also like to join them as a partner
when they finally decide (on any target company). We tell them
take us along with you as a partner," he said.

BSNL has placed a bid for buying up to 75 per cent stake
in Zambia`s lone fixed line operator Zamtel. In the past MTNL
had lost the bid to Kenya`s second national licence. After
emerging as the preferred buyer for Sri Lanka`s Suntel, the
PSU put the proposal on the backburner as valuation issues
cropped up over some legal liabilities.

Asked if MTNL is going to approach BSNL formally over
this, Sinha said, "Definitely I can request them.. If you have
got any good offer and you feel MTNL can support you because
we have got the experience of running the operations outside
the country, we would like to join them.

In the context of joining BSNL with Kuwait`s Zain
Telecom, Sinha said, " We were never there."

The PSU is undertaking a host of initiatives to shore up
its subscriber base, boost bottomline.

BSNL and MTNL were approached by Delhi-based Vavasi group
to acquire majority stake in Kuwaiti cellular firm Zain
Telecom. Later, BSNL put the plan on hold after Vavasi failed
to furnish information on itself.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 19:00

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