Struggling state-owned telco Empresa Hondurena de Telecomunicaciones (Hondutel) has reportedly attracted the attention of an unspecified number of Israeli and French companies, with some of them willing to invest up to USD50 million in the stricken operator. According to BN Americas, the unnamed companies are looking into re-launching Hondutel’s mobile and fixed operations; the network operator is reportedly on the brink of collapse, after years of financial mismanagement have left it in need of around USD400 million in order to revive its operations.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in early September Honduras’ National Congress approved a budget proposal of HNL3.322 billion (USD162.924 million) for 2013 to keep the state-owned telco afloat. The deputy of the National Congress, Rodolfo Irias Navas, stated at the time that the situation at Hondutel must not be allowed to continue, and argued that foreign companies should be allowed to invest in the business. However, the executive added that the measures approved by the National Congress risked ‘lengthening the life of a dying man.’ According to the authorities, as of September 2013 Hondutel had liabilities of USD96 billion in unpaid wages and owed its suppliers around USD40 million. Further, the company faces a contingent liability of USD125 million which includes claims that are still being processed.