Panamanian government aims to raise USD750 million from C&WP stake sale

18 Jun 2012

With the Panamanian government preparing to sell off its 49% stake in local fixed line incumbent Cable & Wireless Panama (C&WP), it has been suggested that the sale could raise around USD750 million for state coffers, according to Bloomberg, citing Finance Minister Frank De Lima. Confirming the government’s plans for the shareholding, the report also notes that the minister revealed that around half of the 49% stake will be sold on the Panamanian stock exchange, while the remainder will be placed in a sovereign wealth fund. UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), which itself holds a 49% interest in C&WP, has the first right of refusal to acquire 5% of the stake being made available, and while the company also has the right to block the proposed sale, it is claimed that it has no plans to do so, with Mr De Lima noting: ‘They (CWC) could block it if they wanted to … but they’re on board.’ The British company, meanwhile, is understood to have said that it ‘respects’ the Panamanian government’s decision to sell off the holding, while it has confirmed it will await a final decision from the country’s lawmakers on moving forward with the sale before deciding whether to exercise its right to acquire the 5% stake it has first right of refusal for.