Image: Gulf Daily News
Batelco upbeat on new acquisitions
Manama, January 24, 2013
Batelco Group's acquisition of various companies from Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) should be a success for the Bahrain-based firm because of its experience in operating on a small island, official were quoted as saying.
Batelco will acquire the entire CWC interest in the Maldives, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, the Seychelles, South Atlantic and Diego Garcia as well as a 25 per cent shareholding in Compagnie Monagesque de Communications, which holds CWC's 55pc interest in Monaco Telecom, for a consideration of $680 million.
Batelco is looking to raise $1 billion in a bond issue later in the year but has already appointed Citigroup and BNP Paribas as its bankers to raise funds, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
Group chief executive Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa yesterday confirmed that the group has already in place a $650 million bridging contract to cover the cost ahead of the bond issue.
"The businesses we are acquiring all operate on small islands and for us with our experience this is a very attractive opportunity," he told a Press conference at Batelco's headquarters in Hamala.
"These markets have a natural protection from competition because they are limited in size. They currently offer low growth but stable income and we can work with them to add value from our experience and provide them with new products that we are developing in our other markets," he added.
Commenting on Batelco Bahrain's restructuring programme which was launched last year with a completion date of 2014, he said that the company was always investing in technology and connectivity.
"In this restructuring we are looking at all areas of our operations where we can gain efficiency to compete. Our new competitors in the home market had an advantage of setting up new operations while we had some legacy problems but are addressing this," he added.
Batelco's performance last year was impacted by a number of one-off charges, including expenses associated with the extensive restructuring and cost rationalisation programme at its Bahrain operations.
But in spite of that the company provided a solid performance in 2012. The group reported a net profit of $160m for last year with earnings standing at $270 million. The group's gross revenues stood at $808.2 million.
In line with the group's continued diversification, 41pc of revenues and 39pc of earnings are now generated from markets outside of Bahrain where the group continues to focus on strengthening its performance and reach, the report said. - TradeArabia News Service
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