C&W set to buy Bahamas telecom firm

CABLE & Wireless Communications (CWC) said yesterday it had signed an agreement with the government of the Bahamas to acquire a 51 per cent controlling interest in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) for $210m (£135m).

The deal will be completed in the first quarter of 2011.

State-owned BTC is the exclusive mobile operator in the Bahamas and also provides fixed-line and broadband services.

The Bahamas government hopes that by privatising the business it can modernise its telecommunications network and aims to open up the mobile network to competition within the next three years.

CWC will also oversee a restructure of BTC’s workforce. Some redundancies are expected although the number of likely redundancies is unclear. CWC said they would be carried out on a voluntary basis where possible.

BTC has around 392,000 mobile customers, 123,000 fixed-line and 19,000 broadband subscribers, generating revenue of $361m in 2009, CWC said.

The telecoms firm said it expected to fund the deal from its existing cash balances and debt facilities. The transaction is expected to be earnings and cash flow accretive excluding restructuring costs.

Tony Rice, CWC’s chief executive, said the deal represented a “great opportunity” for the business to expand into the region and would fit its strategy to “develop through market leading and cash generative businesses.”