A Dubai-based consortium comprising Tecom Investments and the Dubai Investment Group (DIG) has announced the AED1.04 billion (USD283 million) acquisition of a 60% stake in Maltese incumbent Maltacom. According to the UAE-based daily newspaper the Khaleej Times, the consortium has also entered into a firm commitment with the government on a strategic plan for Maltacom that includes an investment of AED330 million over three years. The consortium of Tecom and DIG, both members of Dubai Holding, was selected by the Maltese government following a public selection process which began in March. A government spokesperson said that ‘Tecom was chosen because, unlike the other shortlisted bidder – Ararco from Saudi Arabia – it is a strategic partner. In addition, Tecom’s substantial shareholding in Interoute, the world’s largest fibre-optic cable network and its shareholding in Tunisia Telecom, will leave Maltacom ideally positioned to grasp the opportunities that lie ahead.’ Tecom has agreed not to de-list Maltacom shares and not to sell any of its shareholding, nor increase it, before 1 January 2009. In addition, during the same period it has promised to not impose any redundancies on Maltacom’s 1,500 or so employees.
The investment the consortium has promised over the next three years will be used to increase the data bandwidth between Malta and Italy, to enter the digital TV market, to launch interactive TV and enhance VoIP services.