The Colombian government is preparing to end its administrative intervention of local telco Empresas Municipales de Cali (EmCali) and will soon return control of the company to the municipality, according to BNamericas. The state says that the move is being taken in order to restructure EmCali and generate savings of USD159 million. In 2000 Colombia’s utilities regulator Superservicios took over the running of the company, and spent the next four years negotiating the restructuring of its estimated USD500 million debt, finally sealing an agreement with creditors in mid-2004 to pay back the amount over an 18-year period. EmCali had 601,000 telephony subscribers at the end of 2004.
Elsewhere in Colombia, Barranquilla’s municipal telco Batelsa is set to be sold to one of three pre-selected bidders, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Santa Fé de Bogotá (ETB), Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) or Telesociada Metrotel. The bidding will be held on 22 November with a starting price of USD89 million. The bankrupt operator has been run by five state institutions since May 2004, and currently has over 125,000 subscribers.