Financial briefs July 2012

Tata Communications to increase stake in Neotel (India)

Tata Communications is considering raising its stake in South Africa-based Neotel by 2.5 per cent. The company intends to buy stake from Tata Africa for $18 million. The acquisition will increase Tata Communications’ share in Neotel to 66.6 per cent. The company has sought government approval for the planned acquisition.

BSB acquires 49 per cent stake in Y2CF

Bharti SoftBank Holdings (BSB), a joint venture between Bharti Airtel and Japan-based SoftBank Corporation, has acquired a 49 per cent stake in Gurgaon-based value-added services company Y2CF. BSB has the option to acquire the remaining stake at a future date. The deal has been valued at around Rs 400 million.

Fino acquires Nokia’s mobile payment services business

Financial inclusion facilitating firm Fino has acquired Nokia’s mobile payment services business in India in an all-cash deal. The deal value has, however, not been disclosed. The acquisition will enable Fino to move beyond banking services into the payments domain and directly engage with customers. The company has established a new entity, Alpha Payment Services India Private Limited, to manage the recently acquired business, which will provide services such as money transfers, utility bill payments, and mobile and DTH recharges.

NTT DOCOMO to increase its stake in TTSL

Japan-based NTT DOCOMO is considering increasing its stake in Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) from 26 per cent to 35 per cent. The company is considering exercising the call option included in the agreement signed between both entities in 2008. Currently, the Tata Group owns around 60 per cent stake in the telecom venture, while Singapore-based Temasek and Chennai-based investor C. Sivasankaran hold 7 per cent and 6 per cent respectively. NTT DOCOMO has till end-July 2012 to exercise its call option and acquire the stake at a price decided in 2008. Otherwise, the company will be able to acquire it in March 2014, when the price will be renegotiated.

Reliance Globalcom sets price range for IPO (Singapore)

Reliance Communications’ (RCOM) submarine cable arm, Reliance Globalcom, has decided a price range for its initial public offering (IPO) in Singapore. The operator plans to sell between 642.2 million and 757.6 million units at a price of $1.09-$1.32 per unit. RCOM is looking to raise $1 billion-$1.5 billion from the issue, which would help in the partial retirement of its debt.

Qtel to double its stake in Asiacell (Qatar)

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has reached a provisional agreement to double its holding in Iraq-based mobile operator Asiacell. The $1.47 billion transaction will increase Qtel’s ownership in Asiacell to 53.9 per cent. The transaction will be financed through existing funds. Further, Qtel plans to acquire an additional stake in Asiacell, subject to approval from the Iraqi government and regulators.

Qtel proposes to increase its stake in NMTC (Kuwait)

Qtel has made an offer to acquire the remaining 47.5 per cent stake in its Kuwait-based division National Mobile Telecommunications Company (NMTC). Barclays Capital and the National Bank of Kuwait’s investment banking arm are Qtel’s financial advisers for the proposed stake purchase, which is worth $2.3 billion. Qtel has submitted its offer to Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority for review.

European Commission approves Vodafone Group’s acquisition of CWW (UK)

The European Commission has approved UK-based Vodafone Group’s request for acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW). The commission noted in its statement that the acquisition would raise no competition concerns as the parties’ activities are largely complementary. In April 2012, the Vodafone Group had reached an agreement with CWW to acquire the latter for approximately $1.6 billion in cash. Vodafone is likely to use CWW’s fibre network for increasing its bandwidth capacity to match customers’ demand for data services. Recently, a CWW shareholder ballot saw 87.5 per cent vote in favour of Vodafone’s proposal, surpassing the required shareholder approval level of 75 per cent for the deal.

TOT’s consulting deal with Softbank nears completion (Thailand)

Thailand’s state-owned operator TOT is at the final stages of signing a contract with Japan-based operator SoftBank for strategic consulting and technical support. As per the agreement, SoftBank will provide technical help with platforms, technology transfer and human resource development to TOT.

Telkom Indonesia’s Pacnet acquisition plans cancelled (Indonesia)

Indonesia-based PT Telekomunikasi (Telkom Indonesia) has shelved its plans to acquire submarine cable operator Pacnet. Since May 2011, Telkom Indonesia has been evaluating a takeover deal for Pacnet (worth $1 billion). The cable operator, owned by Ashmore Investment Management and Clearwater Capital Partners, had put itself up for sale in 2011, after its IPO plan was undermined by the volatile market.

Financial briefs July 2012

Tata Communications to increase stake in Neotel (India)

Tata Communications is considering raising its stake in South Africa-based Neotel by 2.5 per cent. The company intends to buy stake from Tata Africa for $18 million. The acquisition will increase Tata Communications’ share in Neotel to 66.6 per cent. The company has sought government approval for the planned acquisition.

BSB acquires 49 per cent stake in Y2CF

Bharti SoftBank Holdings (BSB), a joint venture between Bharti Airtel and Japan-based SoftBank Corporation, has acquired a 49 per cent stake in Gurgaon-based value-added services company Y2CF. BSB has the option to acquire the remaining stake at a future date. The deal has been valued at around Rs 400 million.

Fino acquires Nokia’s mobile payment services business

Financial inclusion facilitating firm Fino has acquired Nokia’s mobile payment services business in India in an all-cash deal. The deal value has, however, not been disclosed. The acquisition will enable Fino to move beyond banking services into the payments domain and directly engage with customers. The company has established a new entity, Alpha Payment Services India Private Limited, to manage the recently acquired business, which will provide services such as money transfers, utility bill payments, and mobile and DTH recharges.

NTT DOCOMO to increase its stake in TTSL

Japan-based NTT DOCOMO is considering increasing its stake in Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) from 26 per cent to 35 per cent. The company is considering exercising the call option included in the agreement signed between both entities in 2008. Currently, the Tata Group owns around 60 per cent stake in the telecom venture, while Singapore-based Temasek and Chennai-based investor C. Sivasankaran hold 7 per cent and 6 per cent respectively. NTT DOCOMO has till end-July 2012 to exercise its call option and acquire the stake at a price decided in 2008. Otherwise, the company will be able to acquire it in March 2014, when the price will be renegotiated.

Reliance Globalcom sets price range for IPO (Singapore)

Reliance Communications’ (RCOM) submarine cable arm, Reliance Globalcom, has decided a price range for its initial public offering (IPO) in Singapore. The operator plans to sell between 642.2 million and 757.6 million units at a price of $1.09-$1.32 per unit. RCOM is looking to raise $1 billion-$1.5 billion from the issue, which would help in the partial retirement of its debt.

Qtel to double its stake in Asiacell (Qatar)

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has reached a provisional agreement to double its holding in Iraq-based mobile operator Asiacell. The $1.47 billion transaction will increase Qtel’s ownership in Asiacell to 53.9 per cent. The transaction will be financed through existing funds. Further, Qtel plans to acquire an additional stake in Asiacell, subject to approval from the Iraqi government and regulators.

Qtel proposes to increase its stake in NMTC (Kuwait)

Qtel has made an offer to acquire the remaining 47.5 per cent stake in its Kuwait-based division National Mobile Telecommunications Company (NMTC). Barclays Capital and the National Bank of Kuwait’s investment banking arm are Qtel’s financial advisers for the proposed stake purchase, which is worth $2.3 billion. Qtel has submitted its offer to Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority for review.

European Commission approves Vodafone Group’s acquisition of CWW (UK)

The European Commission has approved UK-based Vodafone Group’s request for acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW). The commission noted in its statement that the acquisition would raise no competition concerns as the parties’ activities are largely complementary. In April 2012, the Vodafone Group had reached an agreement with CWW to acquire the latter for approximately $1.6 billion in cash. Vodafone is likely to use CWW’s fibre network for increasing its bandwidth capacity to match customers’ demand for data services. Recently, a CWW shareholder ballot saw 87.5 per cent vote in favour of Vodafone’s proposal, surpassing the required shareholder approval level of 75 per cent for the deal.

TOT’s consulting deal with Softbank nears completion (Thailand)

Thailand’s state-owned operator TOT is at the final stages of signing a contract with Japan-based operator SoftBank for strategic consulting and technical support. As per the agreement, SoftBank will provide technical help with platforms, technology transfer and human resource development to TOT.

Telkom Indonesia’s Pacnet acquisition plans cancelled (Indonesia)

Indonesia-based PT Telekomunikasi (Telkom Indonesia) has shelved its plans to acquire submarine cable operator Pacnet. Since May 2011, Telkom Indonesia has been evaluating a takeover deal for Pacnet (worth $1 billion). The cable operator, owned by Ashmore Investment Management and Clearwater Capital Partners, had put itself up for sale in 2011, after its IPO plan was undermined by the volatile market.

K.K. Minocha, Deputy Director-General, Broadband, USO Fund

K.K. Minocha, Deputy Director-General, B...

In his younger days, K.K. Minocha aspired to become a scientist or a researcher. However, fate took him in a different direction and he ended up taking the IAS exams instead. “In the 1970s, the field of research and development had not gained prominence in India. This limited my career prospects in the area and so I decided to join the civil services,” he reminisces.

Minocha joined the Indian Telecommunications Service in 1980 and has since worked in different capacities in DoT and BSNL in the areas of satellite communications, optic fibre networks, microwave technologies and network planning.

At BSNL, he served as general manager of the North Eastern and Maharashtra circles; general manager (maintenance), Mumbai; and operations in-charge, Maharashtra and Goa. BSNL’s long distance operations came under his purview in these two circles.

Talking about his most memorable assignment, Minocha recalls the time when he was in charge of maintaining the long distance telecom network in remote areas of Srinagar and Leh from 1982 to 1986. “That was an era when technology was primarily analog and manual intensive. Being located in remote areas, our vendors could barely support us in terms of technological know-how and spare equipment. So, we had to step up and repair faulty equipment. This meant that I had to burn the candle at both ends, and acquire knowledge of the equipment and apply local innovation to ensure that the network functioned smoothly,” he says.

Currently, he is deputy director-general, broadband, Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund. In this capacity, he is responsible for creating infrastructure in rural areas to ensure broadband proliferation. He says the main challenge before him today is to ensure the success of the National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) project, an initiative being carried out by the USO Fund via Bharat Broadband Network Limited.

“The NOFN is aimed at providing optical connectivity to 250,000 gram panchayats spread across the country. This is an enormous challenge, keeping in mind the country’s diverse terrain. Besides, coordinating with several stakeholders, including the central and state governments and telecom operators to ensure implementation of the network is a major task. The target is to achieve coverage of all gram panchayats in two to three years,” he notes.

When he does get time for a breather, Minocha enjoys watching television, reading books on spirituality and listening to music. “My favourite movies are 3 Idiots and Lagaan. I also enjoyed reading The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma,” he says

K.K. Minocha, Deputy Director-General, Broadband, USO Fund

K.K. Minocha, Deputy Director-General, B...

In his younger days, K.K. Minocha aspired to become a scientist or a researcher. However, fate took him in a different direction and he ended up taking the IAS exams instead. “In the 1970s, the field of research and development had not gained prominence in India. This limited my career prospects in the area and so I decided to join the civil services,” he reminisces.

Minocha joined the Indian Telecommunications Service in 1980 and has since worked in different capacities in DoT and BSNL in the areas of satellite communications, optic fibre networks, microwave technologies and network planning.

At BSNL, he served as general manager of the North Eastern and Maharashtra circles; general manager (maintenance), Mumbai; and operations in-charge, Maharashtra and Goa. BSNL’s long distance operations came under his purview in these two circles.

Talking about his most memorable assignment, Minocha recalls the time when he was in charge of maintaining the long distance telecom network in remote areas of Srinagar and Leh from 1982 to 1986. “That was an era when technology was primarily analog and manual intensive. Being located in remote areas, our vendors could barely support us in terms of technological know-how and spare equipment. So, we had to step up and repair faulty equipment. This meant that I had to burn the candle at both ends, and acquire knowledge of the equipment and apply local innovation to ensure that the network functioned smoothly,” he says.

Currently, he is deputy director-general, broadband, Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund. In this capacity, he is responsible for creating infrastructure in rural areas to ensure broadband proliferation. He says the main challenge before him today is to ensure the success of the National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) project, an initiative being carried out by the USO Fund via Bharat Broadband Network Limited.

“The NOFN is aimed at providing optical connectivity to 250,000 gram panchayats spread across the country. This is an enormous challenge, keeping in mind the country’s diverse terrain. Besides, coordinating with several stakeholders, including the central and state governments and telecom operators to ensure implementation of the network is a major task. The target is to achieve coverage of all gram panchayats in two to three years,” he notes.

When he does get time for a breather, Minocha enjoys watching television, reading books on spirituality and listening to music. “My favourite movies are 3 Idiots and Lagaan. I also enjoyed reading The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma,” he says