State targets Vodafone

Business, Normal

The National, Friday June 21st, 2013


ANZ will lend the State US$88 million (K191 million) to assist in bringing in Fiji’s Vodafone.

A deal to carry this out was signed between ANZ and Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) in Port Moresby yesterday.

State Enterprise and Public Investment Minister Ben Micah said the US$88 million would be used to co- finance IPBC’s 51% equity contribution in the joint venture with the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) to bring in Vodafone.

He said the signing of the financing agreement with ANZ would also enable bemobile to re-enter the telecommunication market in Papua New Guinea.

“IPBC has over the years been struggling to maintain value and investment in bemobile with previous partners and praised ANZ for its confidence in IPBC’s management.

Micah assured the bank that its financial arrangement would not be misplaced.

He added that PNG would be bringing its telecommunication industry across to Indonesia’s market.

“The financing agreement will also enable us in implementing the roll out of (Vodafone’s) network and the re-entry of bemobile into the market … with new partners in the next few months.

“We have 51% equity contribution, FNPF 40% and other smaller shareholders 9% in Vodafone.”

“As part of our Melanesia strategy, we (IPBC) plan to extend our telecommunication industry across the border to Indonesia. 

“We also got the invitation to go into Cook Islands and Micronesian Islands markets as well asthe northern part of the Australian Territory.”

IPBC managing director Wasantha Kumarasiri said bemobile’s current employee base is expected to increase after the network is rolled out.

Meanwhile, Micah said that the cabinet has approved Telikom’s major upgrade with funding of US$202 million (K439 million) from China’s Exim Bank.