Deadlock as potential investors demand controlling stake in Hondutel

27 Sep 2012

According to Honduran website La Tribuna, ongoing negotiations to sell a sizeable stake in state-owned Hondutel have ground to a halt after would-be investors rejected a government proposal to buy a 49% stake in the fixed line incumbent, favouring a controlling 51% stake.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, companies interested in investing in the ailing, debt-stricken telco include LR Group (Israel), Rhino (USA) and a Guatemala-China consortium (FIDECO/Datang Mobile). La Tribuna also notes that companies from Uruguay and Italy have now thrown their hats into the ring. Orlando Mejia, the President of the Union of Workers of Hondutel (also known as SITRATELH), commented: ‘Some are willing to be strategic partners [as long as] they are granted 51%, which would mean the virtual disappearance of Hondutel … As Hondutel, we have to set the rules of the game’.

Industry insiders have suggested that the international firms circling Hondutel are more interested in its struggling, wholly-owned mobile unit Honducel, which holds a concession to operate within the wireless sector until 2025. Despite an operational footprint covering Tegucigalpa, Valle de Angeles, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Comayagua, Juticalpa, Catacamas, Santa Rosa de Copan, Utila, Guanaja , La Esperanza, Choloma, Villanueva, Puerto Cortes, El Paraiso, Trujillo and La Mosquitia, the cellco only accounted for a meagre 1.3% market share as at end-June 2012.

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