The Guyanese government has sold its 20% stake in the Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Company (GT&T) to a Chinese company for USD30 million, local media reports Cabinet Secretary Roger Luncheon as saying. Luncheon announced that the Chinese firm had completed its due diligence and had decided to purchase the shares. The government will receive USD25 million immediately, with the remaining USD5 million to be paid over the next five years. Luncheon did not reveal the name of the Chinese buyer although, as noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, previous reports claimed that the Datang group were looking to purchase the shares, and had been negotiating for a price tag of around USD30 million. The government rejected the group’s initial offer, saying that it would not make the sale ‘on credit’.
The transfer of shares will ostensibly end the Guyanese government’s acrimonious relationship with GT&T’s majority owner, Atlantic Tele-Networks (ATN). However Yog Mahadeo, the CEO of GT&T, said that he was ignorant of the deal and claimed that the government had indicated last year that the sale had been called off: ‘It’s so secret that the company being sold doesn’t even know about it. We find it very, very strange that they would have a secret deal’. Mahadeo reiterated parent company ATN’s fears that the government, having extricated itself from GT&T, would look to become a direct competitor. Mahadeo noted that the company had recently shared its technical plans with the government, a move he believed gave credence to their contention that the government was going to set up its own ‘telecoms empire’.