Indian telco Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) is amongst the companies shortlisted to acquire Sri Lankan fixed line operator Suntel, its management has confirmed. Other companies reportedly making the shortlist include Indian international carrier VSNL, Telekom Malaysia and domestic firm John Keells Holdings. Suntel’s biggest shareholder is Nordic telco TeliaSonera, which holds a 55% stake via holding company Overseas Telecom AB. The remaining shares are split between domestic firm Metrocorp, the National Development Bank of Sri Lanka, Townsend Ltd of Hong Kong and the International Finance Corporation (IFC, a member of the World Bank Group). Suntel is the largest competitor to Sri Lanka Telecom in the fixed line market, with 250,000 wireless in the local loop (WiLL) lines in service at the end of 2006.
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