CAT Telecom ordered to negotiate lower price for Hutch

27 Sep 2010

Thailand’s ICT ministry has ordered state-run CAT Telecom to re-negotiate the price it had agreed with Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTI) to buy 100% of their joint venture CDMA mobile operation in Bangkok and central provinces of the country, reports Telecompaper. CAT had earlier agreed to buy out HTI, a wholly owned division of Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa, from Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia (HCWM, operating under the Hutch brand) for THB7.2 billion (USD230 million), in a move given Cabinet approval in April, but the ministry has now decided that the price should be lowered to around THB4 billion. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that HCWM is 75% owned by HTI with CAT owning the remainder, whilst the CDMA2000-based Hutch network, upgraded in certain sections with 3G 1xEV-DO technology, is owned by HTI’s 100%-held subsidiary BFKT, although the telecoms operating licence is solely held by CAT, with its Hong Kong-based partner ‘marketing’ services – thereby sidestepping foreign ownership restrictions. CAT has rolled out EV-DO across other provinces in the north and south of the country and intends to combine its ‘CAT CDMA’ 2G/3G service with the Hutch network, whilst expanding EV-DO across all central areas. HTI has released the bare minimum of CAPEX into its Thai unit in recent years as it prepares to exit the country.

Thailand, CAT Telecom, CK Hutchison, Hutch (Thailand)