Eleven years on, government to try again with BTC sale

2 Jul 2009

With a new regulatory framework in place, the Bahamas government will launch a formal process to sell off 51% of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced in the House of Assembly yesterday. In May, the government passed the Communications Bill, the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) Bill and the Utilities Appeal Tribunal (UAT) Bill to pave the way for liberalisation of the telecoms sector. ‘As the government continues to work towards the privatisation of BTC, and the liberalisation of The Bahamas’ electronic communications sector, this regulatory reform was a critical step towards ensuring that international best practices standards are met, while also enhancing the value proposition to potential partners for BTC,’ Ingraham said. ‘With URCA in place as an independent regulator to promote good business practices and foster a competitive environment, the new regulatory regime seeks to increase both investor and consumer confidence. Now that the new regulatory structure is approved and all other due diligence largely completed by the Privatisation Committee and its team of advisors, the stage is set for the commencement of the privatisation process.’ The prime minister announced that interested parties would be invited to enter a pre-qualification process in order to be considered as potential strategic partners.

Eleven years ago the government first announced its intention to privatise the then Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation. The assets of the corporate were vested in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited in September 2002. The first privatisation process saw a number of potential strategic investors conducting due diligence on the company during 2003, but the government-appointed Tenders Commission did not accept any of the bids. In 2005 the government commenced negotiations with a single bidder – Bluewater – for a 49% stake in the company but a change of government saw the deal being rejected by the incoming administration.

Bahamas, Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC),

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