Timorese businessman Julio Alfaro would be interested in increasing his stake in Timor Telecom (TT) if Portugal Telecom (PT) puts its stake in the incumbent telco up for sale, Alfaro told Portuguese news agency Lusa, as reported by macauhub. The businessman said he would consider acquiring more shares if the Timorese government decided to take control of the company from PT: ‘The purchase of PT’s shares in Timor Telecom would be the best solution to the reality that we are experiencing in the PT group … at that time I would have confidence and peace of mind to buy some of the shares according to my stake.’ PT’s 76.14%-owned subsidiary Telecomunicacoes Publicas de Timor (TPT) holds a 54.01% stake in TT and a further 3.05% is held through PT’s wholly-owned subsidiary PT Participacoes SGPS. The Timorese government owns 20.59%, VDT Holdings has a 17.86% stake and the remaining 4.49% is held by Alfaro. TT won a tender to reconstruct the island’s telecoms infrastructure in July 2002 and went on to launch commercial services on 1 March 2003. Its exclusivity was brought to an end with the award of telecoms licences to Vietnamese-owned Viettel and Telin, a subsidiary of Telekom Indonesia, in July 2012.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, on 5 May 2014 the entire share capital of PT Portugal Telecom SGPS (PT Portugal) was contributed to Brazil’s Oi SA by Portugal Telecom SGPS (PT SGPS), as part of a capital increase related to the planned merger of the Brazilian and Portuguese telcos, although Oi subsequently agreed to offload PT Portugal to Altice Group for EUR7.4 billion (USD9.2 billion). In December 2014 Oi clarified that its sale of its PT Portugal operating unit to Altice did not include the Africatel holding company, TT or the debts attributed to Rio Forte Investments, and therefore these three assets must be separated from PT Portugal prior to the approved sale to Altice. As such, the stake in TT remains in legal limbo, pending the successful conclusion of the Altice takeover, whereupon it is likely to revert to the control of Oi.