Indian regulator the Department of Telecom (DOT) has revealed that MTNL is seeking a joint venture partner to take up a 50% stake in Sri Lanka’s Suntel, which it is currently negotiating to buy. ‘As the target company is being run by highly-skilled professionals, to maintain its existing structure with regards to human resources and other policies, MTNL has in principle decided to limit its stake to 50% and is in talks to find suitable partners,’ the DOT said of MTNL in its annual report for 2007-08. MTNL has been short-listed as the preferred bidder to acquire Suntel, which has some 300,000 customers. The Sri Lankan company is a CDMA technology-based fixed-line telephony service provider. Nordic telco TeliaSonera is Suntel’s top shareholder with a 55% stake via holding vehicle Overseas Telecom. The remaining shares are held by Sri Lanka’s Metrocorp, the National Development Bank of Sri Lanka, Townsend Ltd of Hong Kong and International Finance Corporation.
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