Sri Lanka’s celco leader Dialog Axiata is believed to have finalized a deal to buy over 100 percent of fixed line-CDMA operator Suntel Private Limited; an informed source reveled to Mirror Business.
Despite the failed attempts made by the company to acquire Suntel in the past, owing to price related and regulatory issues, Dialog is believed to have been able to resolve the issues this time.
“More than price issues, this time there was a delay on the part of the regulator giving approval to the deal. But everything has now been sorted out and the due approval has been granted and Dialog is expected to make an official statement shortly,” the source said.
Since the end of the CDMA boom several years back, Suntel had been up for sale. Over seven suitors both local and foreign vied to acquire the company that has a decent corporate clientele.
Among the interested parties, there were names like Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Tata Communications (TCL), John Keells Holdings, Malaysia Telecom, Sri Lanka Telecom and Vallibel One PLC.
Suntel is owned by a consortium led by Sweden’s Overseas Telecom AB and includes Metrocorp Ltd., Telecom Venture Group Ltd., International Finance Corporation, NDB Bank, C. Tech Investments Ltd., and Kelmarsh Investments Ltd.
Suntel began operations in late 1996 in Sri Lanka and soon after emerged as the third largest with an estimated customer base of half a million by 2008. However thereafter its customers, migrated to other operators due to the mobile phase that started in the Sri Lanka’s telecommunication scene, and the firm’s current base is estimated at 350,000. (IS)