Three contenders in running for stake in Cook Islands Telecom
The Cook Islands Government says two more companies have put their hat in the ring for a large stake in Cook Islands Telecom.
The Cook Islands Government says two local investors have put their hat in the ring for a large stake in Cook Islands Telecom.
The Business Trade and Investment Board has extended the timeframe for expressions of interest in buying Telecom New Zealand's 60 percent share in the company by 60 days.
The original closing date was May 10 and telecommunications company Digicel had already emerged as a strong contender.
The Cook Islands Minister of Telecommunications, Mark Brown, told Amelia Langford he understands the board extended the timeframe to give local companies more time to prepare their proposals.
MARK BROWN: Telecom Cook Islands is a company in the Cook Islands which is 60 percent owned by Telecom New Zealand and 40 percent owned by the Government of the Cook Islands. Now, there has been interest from Digicel to purchase Telecom New Zealand's 60 percent and as a result of that interest and that proposal Telecom Cook Islands, or in particular Telecom New Zealand, is required also to make available those shares to any local investors who may be interested in buying. Now, just before the expiry of the deadline for the closing of proposals, there were two additional proposals that were submitted for expressions of interest to purchase Telecom NZ's 60 percent. So we have three companies now that have put forward for Telecom NZ, an expression of interest to purchase their shares, one is Digicel, and the other two companies are made up of local investors who have partnered with international investors. So right now, we are at the stage where Telecom NZ is assessing the merits of these three proposals before they make a decision as to who they would prepare to sell their shares to.
AMELIA LANGFORD: So would you say there are three quite strong contenders there now?
MB: The latest two proposals - I don't know much about them at all. That information has gone straight to Telecom NZ but I would say that Digicel's proposal is a very strong proposal so we will just await the outcome of Telecom NZ's due diligence on these two new proposals and see what direction they want to take.
AL: So did the Cook Islands' Business Trade and Investment Board extend the advertising period because of these last minute applicante?
MB: Yes, I was surprised by that myself because my understanding was that the two extra applicants managed to get their proposals in within the existing timeframe. However I was subsequently advised that the BTIB had extended the term for another 60 days for any other interested local company wanting to put an application in. I am not aware of any other companies that are interested in putting applications in so this I guess delays the process by another two months for Telecom NZ to consider the three that they have before them now.
The Cook Islands government has operated Cook Islands Telecom as a joint venture with Telecom New Zealand since 1991.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: