The government of Timor-Leste is interested in buying the stake in national fixed and mobile operator Timor Telecom (TT) currently held by Portugal Telecom (PT) and Oi SA, according to news agency Lusa, which cites Minister for Public Works, Transport and Telecommunications Gastao de Sousa. 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 local businessman Julio Alfaro. The Minister confirmed that there are several options open for the stake, but he revealed that one of the possibilities could see the state acquire all of PT/Oi’s shares in TT, while last month Alfaro said he would consider acquiring more shares if the Timorese government decided to take control of TT from PT.
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 the 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.