Three candidates are reportedly interested in acquiring Brazilian firm Oi’s majority stake in Timor Telecom (TT), Timorese businessman Abilio Araujo told Portuguese news agency Lusa. As reported by Ponto Final, Araujo confirmed that his Investel group is one of the companies currently examining a potential purchase of the national fixed line and mobile operator, while unnamed sources have disclosed that ETO Group, owned by businessman Nilton Gusmao, and a Fijian pension fund are also interested in TT. According to the report, a final decision on the buyer of Oi’s stake in TT is expected to be announced next month.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the deal involves a 54.01% shareholding in TT, controlled by Telecomunicacoes Publicas de Timor (TPT), in which Oi owns 76.14%, in addition to a direct 3.05% stake held by PT Participacoes SGPS. The Timorese government currently holds a 20.59% stake in TT, with the remaining shareholders being VDT Operator Holdings (17.86%) and Timorese businessman Julio Alfaro (4.49%). In June the Timorese government opted against increasing its shareholding in TT after carrying out a commercial, financial and economic analysis of the proposed transaction, adding that the decision was in line with its liberalisation policy of keeping the telecoms sector ‘in the hands of the market.’