CWC opens talks with Batelco over $1bn sale of its Monaco & Islands operations

CABLE & Wireless Communications (CWC) is in talks to sell several of its operations worldwide in a deal valued at around $1bn (£620m), the firm confirmed yesterday.

The London-based company has received an approach from Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) for its operations in Monaco and a number of island nations including the Falkland Islands, the Seychelles and the Maldives. Chief executive Tony Rice has long been rumoured to be considering a sale of CWC’s Monaco & Islands business, as well as its Macau operations, as he focuses on its Caribbean businesses.

The company does not own all of Monaco & Islands, so would receive less than $1bn, but a sale would still provide a welcome boost to CWC shareholders, who have seen their dividends halved this year as the firm uses its cash to invest in infrastructure.

“CWC confirms that it has received an approach from Batelco Group regarding a possible transaction involving its Monaco & Islands business unit,” the company said in a statement yesterday, pointing out that discussions were at an early stage.

“At this point, there can be no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction.”

Shares in CWC rose around five per cent on the news. The company was formed in 2010 after a demerger from Cable & Wireless Worldwide, which was recently purchased by Vodafone. Batelco is interested in the deal due to declining revenues in the Bahraini market.