ADB, firm seal deal for project

Business

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Ltd (ATH) yesterday executed the subscription and shareholders agreement (investment agreement) for ATH International Venture Pte. Ltd, the subsidiary company investing in ATH’s new mobile broadband telecommunications network construction project in Papua New Guinea.In its market announcement issued by the South Pacific stock exchange yesterday, ATH stated that its largest subsidiary Vodafone Fiji Pte Ltd was managing the project rollout.It stated that the project had already made significant progress and “subsequently operate the mobile business under the Vodafone brand”.The company stated that the signing of the agreement was a key milestone for the project in formalising the ADB’s participation as the cornerstone investor in this project, and to pave the way for other equity partners to join ATH and ADB as shareholders in the project to bolster the provision of modern, innovative and affordable services to the people of PNG.“The PNG telecommunication market is largely underserved with only 34.4 per cent mobile penetration,” ATH chairperson Kalpana Lal said in the market announcement.“This, together with the size of the PNG market being almost eight times larger than ATH’s current market size, is not only an incredible investment opportunity for ATH but it will also enable ATH and its investment partners to elevate digital connectivity in the country to bring about further economic opportunities and improve PNG’s business environment through private sector development and lift investor confidence in the telecommunications sector.” Jackie Surtani, the infrastructure finance division director for Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific at ADB’s private sector operations department, said following their announcement of ADB’s Board approval for this investment last Sept 1 they were pleased to be able to confirm ADB’s signature of its formal investment agreement and related documents with ATH yesterday.“This reflects ATH and Vodafone Fiji’s keen focus and excellent progress in construction of this important project as well as ADB’s continued determination, despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, to deliver essential and affordable infrastructure services to the people of Papua New Guinea,” Surtani said.The virtual signing ceremony was attended by the earmarked regional investors, including Vodafone Fiji Ltd, Unit Trust of Samoa, Samoa national provident fund and Austel Investment Pty Ltd.According to ATH, this investment in the PNG market will add scale, diversity and value proposition to ATH’s investment portfolio, which already included telecommunications and ICT businesses in Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Samoa, American Samoa and Cook Islands.

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