United Telecommunication Services (UTS) director Paul de Geus has confirmed that the Curacao-based group’s Surinamese subsidiary UNIQA was sold last month. However, as per a non-disclosure agreement inked between the two parties, the identity of the buyer will not be disclosed until certain conditions are fulfilled; de Geus expects the sale process to take several months to conclude. Suriname communications minister Falisie Joseph Pinas has reportedly been informed of the sale, and has agreed in principle as a means of safeguarding some 60 jobs. Rumours of a deal first emerged in December 2014, when Sherwin Leonora of the Pueblo Soberano party raised questions about the company’s future in parliament. Leonora claimed to have heard rumours that the cellco had been sold for around USD5 million; if true, the agreed price would represent a heavy loss on UTS’ reported USD80 million investment in the ill-fated unit.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, UNIQA was formed in 2007 as a joint venture between UTS (51%) and local firm Intelsur (49%). In May 2013 it was revealed that UTS had put the loss-making UNIQA up for sale in an effort to focus on its domestic market. UNIQA competes with state-backed Telesur (TeleG) and pan-regional telecoms giant Digicel in the mobile sphere.