The shareholders of Bahrain’s Batelco have voted to approve its USD680 million cash acquisition of most of the Monaco & Islands division of the UK’s Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC). Batelco received the requisite majority shareholder approval for its purchase of CWC’s subsidiaries in the Maldives, UK Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Seychelles, South Atlantic (including the Falklands) and Diego Garcia as well as a 25% shareholding in Compagnie Monagesque de Communications (CMC), which holds CWC’s 55% interest in Monaco Telecom. In addition, Batelco and CWC have entered into put and call arrangements in relation to CWC’s remaining 75% interest in CMC, allowing Batelco to acquire a controlling interest in Monaco Telecom for an additional USD345 million in line with certain previously announced terms and conditions.
Batelco Group chairman, Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, commented: ‘The board of directors of Batelco Group is delighted that our shareholders have shown support for this transformative acquisition, which will see the company emerge as an international telecommunications company of reference. We have been pursuing a strategy of diversification and this acquisition will greatly further our efforts to both broaden our geographic footprint as well as add important new revenue streams.’ Batelco, with existing operations in six countries, will have a presence in 17 countries across the Middle East, Monaco, Indian Ocean, Channel Islands and the South Atlantic following the deal with CWC.
Batelco Group CEO Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa added: ‘This transaction is instrumental in our efforts to continue to increase the scale of our operations and further build our leadership in our six existing markets throughout the Middle East as well as on a global basis. Working closely with the management teams and companies we will acquire, we expect to drive further value for our customers across both current and new markets. The expansion of our network and reach not only provides for significant benefits to customers, it also enables us to achieve synergies and reach greater efficiencies in our operations.’
Shareholders also approved the issuance by Batelco of debt instruments up to a value of USD1 billion as well as authorising the board of directors to determine the timing and conditions related to the issuance of the debt after obtaining the approval of the Central Bank of Bahrain.
The Monaco & Islands acquisition, which was agreed in early December 2012 and approved by the shareholders of CWC on 9 January 2013, remains subject to respective consents and approvals in each of the applicable markets and other certain closing conditions. All conditions and consents are expected to have been satisfied by the end of March 2013, whereupon Batelco will take control of each of the majority-owned businesses, while CWC will continue to operate Monaco Telecom in partnership with the Principality of Monaco as co-shareholder.