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CWC/LIME reaches agreement with Government of the Bahamas for BTC

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Written by TechJamaica.com

Cable & Wireless Communications Plc (CWC) has signed agreements with the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to acquire a 51% interest in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited (BTC).

Although the final agreement is subject to a number of conditions including Parliamentary and regulatory approvals, CWC expects to be able to close the transaction by the end of March 2011.

BTC will form a key plank of CWC’s LIME business, the leading full-service telecommunications provider in the Caribbean.

CWC 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 key terms of the sale and purchase agreement and the shareholders’ agreement entered into with the Bahamian Government in respect to BTC are consistent with the memorandum of understanding announced on December 2, 2010 and include:

• CWC will acquire 51% of the shares in BTC, including management control of the business, for US$210 million.

• The purchase price is based on BTC having net cash of B$15 million (US$15 million) on closing, and is subject to standard post-completion adjustments for actual net cash and working capital balances at closing.

• The liberalisation process for the mobile sector will commence no sooner than three years after privatisation.

• Workforce restructuring programmes during the first two years after privatisation will be undertaken on a voluntary basis.

Commenting on the acquisition, Tony Rice, CWC’s Chief Executive, said: “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.”

“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. In partnering with the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas we believe that we can deliver a world-class telecoms capability to the people and businesses of The Bahamas,” he added.

David Shaw, CEO of LIME said: “The Bahamas is very important to Cable & Wireless Communications and LIME. Our vision for BTC is to put the customer at the centre of the business and to put the business at the heart of the Bahamian community.”

“Our business plan aims to deliver exciting, innovative options including mobile TV, music, and mobile banking; competitive pricing and a new retail experience. When customers win, the business wins, which is absolutely the way it should be. We’re looking forward to working with the local team to build an amazing telecoms business for The Bahamas.” he added.

The shares in BTC will be acquired by CWC Bahamas Holdings Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CWC.

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