Government-backed fund considers Willcom investment

15 Jan 2010

The Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp (ETIC) of Japan, a state-affiliated fund, is reportedly considering an investment in local PHS operator Willcom, as part of a bailout plan to rescue the operator, Reuters reports citing people familiar with the situation. Rival mobile operator Softbank Mobile and private equity group Advantage Partners are among other companies that may also be invited to invest in Wellcom, which is majority owned by private equity firm Carlyle, the source said. It is understood Willcom has been holding talks with its creditors concerning plans to reschedule its debt. ‘We have been in negotiations to reach a conclusion in (the) ADR process,’ said Willcom spokesman Shinji Sugiuchi, referring to the procedure, known as ‘alternative dispute resolution’. As part of any deal, the ETIC is looking for Willcom’s baning partners to waive its loans; as at 31 March 2009, Willcom had JPY69 billion (USD757 million) of loans and JPY35 billion of outstanding debt.