The sale of the assets of Dominican Republic cable TV operator Aster Comunicaciones has been suspended by the Civil and Commercial Chamber of Santo Domingo, Next TV Latam reports. A judge ruled that the bidding process held in March this year by the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, which has been acting as Aster’s administrator on behalf of the collapsed parent company Banco Intercontinental (Baninter), was flawed. A bid of USD27 million was accepted from local utility group Consorcio Energetico Punta Cana-Macao (CEPM) despite the fact that another firm – Servicios Ampliados de Telefonos (Satel) – stated that it had intended to offer a higher amount but had been excluded from the bidding. In addition, auditing firm KPMG had previously estimated Aster’s value at USD44 million and this had been set as the minimum offer price by the administrators, yet the winning bid was USD17 million below this.
The judge’s decision to suspend the sale has been questioned by some commentators, however. The Dominican journalist and ambassador in Spain, Cesar Medina, is claiming that the judge has acted ‘out of jurisdiction’, while Satel was legitimately disqualified from the sale process for failing to prove its solvency as required under the bidding conditions.