News: Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie is considering delaying liberalisation of the wireless sector in exchange for reclaiming a majority stake in local telecoms operator Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC). Caribbean-based operator Cable & Wireless Communications acquired a 51% stake in BTC from the government for US$210mn in April 2011. The extension period would not be long, but the extension is possible provided the stake is reclaimed by the government, reports Nassau Guardian.
BMI View: Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) expanded across the region in December 2010 when it signed a memorandum of understanding with the government in The Bahamas to buy a 51% stake in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC). CWC paid US$210mn for the 51% stake in the operator in April 2011, with the government initially retaining 49%. A further US$55mn was returned to shareholders as part of a share buyback scheme. The share buyback scheme was completed on July 20 2011, after acquiring 5.158% of shares through this. On August 18 2011, the government announced it was to sell an additional 9%. The deal involves restructuring the workforce, as well as BTC having US$15mn in net cash. The acquisition was approved by the Bahamian Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority in April 2011. CWC and the government in the Bahamas will create a business plan to modernise telecoms throughout the country and continue with development.