Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) announced yesterday that the parent company of Malaysian mobile and fixed line operator Maxis Communications has been given the go ahead to conduct a due diligence study of SLT’s assets ahead of a possible sale of all or part of a 35.2% stake held by Japanese telco NTT. SLT, which is majority-owned by the Sri Lankan government, said NTT was in talks with Global Telecommunications Holdings, a subsidiary of Malaysian conglomerate Usaha Tegas ‘on a possible sell down of part of their holdings in SLT’, reports Lanka Business Online. Usaha Tegas is ultimately controlled by a discretionary trust, the beneficiaries of which are family members of Malaysian businessman Ananda Krishnan Tatparanandam, writes the paper. There has been speculation that NTT may sell a stake smaller than 30%. Incumbent PSTN operator SLT saw a rise in profits last year driven by a successful rollout of CDMA WiLL services. It also owns mobile operator Mobitel, which more than doubled its subscriber base in 2006 to 885,000, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database. One of SLT’s fixed line CDMA rivals, Suntel, 55%-owned by Sweden’s TeliaSonera, is currently up for sale, with seven firms in the running to buy it, including John Keells Holdings, India’s VSNL and Malaysia Telekom, the owner of Sri Lanka’s mobile market leader Dialog Telekom.
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