New Delhi: Inching closer to its first ever global buyout, state-owned BSNL has entered the second round of bidding to acquire a majority stake in Zambia’s leading telecom company Zambia Telecommunications Ltd (Zamtel).
"All the four companies that submitted the first round bids on December 23, 2009, for up to 75 per cent stake in Zamtel have successfully gone to the second round of bidding," Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), an official agency promoting economic growth and development, said.
When contacted BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Kuldeep Goyal said "...we had participated, now selected, we shall see and go forward from here."
Asked about the due diligence, BSNL had done before putting in its initial bid, Goyal declined to give details about the bid and company details and said "now again we have to see and take a call for the next round of bidding."
Zamtel, with a revenue of USD 100 million (till December, 2009), is Zambia's only licenced fixed-line provider of voice and data communications.
The bidders who shall proceed to the next round are Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) of India, LAP Greencom Ltd/LAP Green Networks of Libya, Unitel/Angola Cables of Angola and Altimo Holdings/Vimpel Com of Russia.
"The ZDA Board at meeting held on January 11, 2009 approved the recommended shortlist after detailed analysis conducted by an Evaluation Committee," ZDA said on its website.
If succeeds, this would be BSNL's first ever global foray, Goyal said adding he was keenly watching it.
BSNL is sitting on huge cash estimated at Rs 40,000 crore to make international presence. However, there was no confirmation on its cash reserves. The PSU is feeling competition in the domestic market and its market share has taken a hit in the recent years.
Commenting on the shortlisted successful bidders, Muhabi Lungu, Acting Director General of the ZDA, said he was happy with all four players who have gone through to the next stage of the process. "The bids submitted were compelling, and set the stage for an exciting next phase," he added.
The four bidders will now be invited to participate in the next round of bidding, which is expected to begin during the week commencing January 18, 2010.
First Published: Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 19:45