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Bahamian Government Moves Ahead With Telecoms Privatisation

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

28 October 2002


The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) revealed last week that the government has launched an advertising campaign to find a strategic partner and manager for the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).

The company is currently 100% owned by the Bahamian authorities, but they are looking to sell a 49% stake in the company to the right partner, and to transfer management control.

According to the invitation to register interest in the privatisation of the Bahamian telecommunications sector, published on Wednesday, such a partner will: 'provide the technical and financial resources and management capabilities to enable the BTC to attain the highest levels of international and national competitiveness and performance in the telecommunications sector'.

According to the BFSB, interested companies or entities must meet one of the two pre-qualification criteria. These are that:

- A telecommunications company must either demonstrate revenues from fixed and/or cellular telecommunications activities for the last audited financial year of over US$300 million, or must operate one or more fixed and/or cellular communications network with more than 300,000 subscribers in total.

- A financial investor must demonstrate that it has committed capital or funds under management in excess of US$300 million.

Speaking following the publication of the invitation, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, the Hon. James Smith observed that a new and rejuvenated BTC would provide a solid base for e-commerce development within the jurisdiction.

The deadline for registering interest is December 6, 2002, according to the Bahamas Financial Services Board.


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