Curacao-based multi-island Caribbean telecoms group United Telecommunication Services (UTS) will be sold in its entirety, with a deal expected to be finalised with an as-yet unnamed buyer soon, according to a report by Sint Maarten’s Daily Herald. The government of Curacao holds an 87.5% stake in UTS, while the government of Sint Maarten owns the remainder (12.5%), and the newspaper quoted local MPs as confirming that all active telecoms assets of UTS were on the table (contrary to some previous reports implying that certain islands’ operations would be separated from the deal).
UTS operates in Curacao, Sint Maarten, Saint-Martin, Bonaire, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Saint Barthelemy. The intention is for UTS to be sold in its entirety to the strategic buyer except non-core subsidiaries Antilliaanse Televisie Maatschappij (Tele Curacao) and Data Planet, which will be divested separately ‘as soon as possible’ (whilst defunct UTS units in Saint Kitts & Nevis and Suriname are in the process of liquidation).
Only the Curacao and Sint Maarten operations are profitable. Curacao contributes about 78% of the company’s overall revenues, Sint Maarten around 20%, and Bonaire around 1%, with less than 1% contributed by each of Saint-Martin, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Saint Barthelemy.
The identity of the UTS buyer has not yet been confirmed due to a non-disclosure agreement, but reports have claimed it is regional powerhouse Liberty Latin America (LLA).