Dhiraagu has said it remains “businesses as usual” for its operations after the group’s majority shareholder Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) announced today it would be selling its stake in the company to Bahrain-based Batelco.
The agreement will see CWC divest its businesses in a number of nations, including the Maldives, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, the Seychelles, Diego Garcia as well as other South Atlantic operations it has stakes in for a fee of US$680 million (MVR10.4bn).
Dhiraagu’s Manager for Marketing, Communications and Public Relations Mohamed Mirshan Hassan told Minivan News that Batelco’s purchase – expected to be completed by the end of CWC’s present financial year – would have no immediate impact on the company’s existing services or expansion plans. Batelco has pledged to invest further in the company to strengthen Dhiraagu’s position in the Maldivian telecommunications sector.
As of March this year, CWC controlled 52 percent of Dhiraagu’s shares, with the government holding just under 42 percent.
Mirshan added that there had been no discussions over whether its new majority shareholder would look to add to its stake in the telecommunications provider.
“There has been no mention of this at the moment,” he said, adding that it would remain “business as usual” for the company once the sale of its shares had been completed.
In addressing the sale, CWC CEO Tony Rice said that the company was selling its Monaco and Islands portfolio, which includes the stake in Dhiraagu, as part of its wider aims to expand the group’s Pan-America operations.
Meanwhile, Batelco Group Chief Executive, Sheikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa said the group would look to make further investment in Dhiraagu following completion of the deal.
“Batelco is in the process of building a telecoms business of global relevance of which the Maldives will be an important part,” he said. “We will continue the development of Dhiraagu as a market leader and we are looking forward to supporting each of the businesses and contributing to the communities they operate in.”
Dhiraagu itself is one of the country’s largest service providers, dominating the internet and telecommunications sector alongside its main competitor, Wataniya.
Set up back in 1988, the company has said it presently employs over 600 staff across the Maldives, 99 percent of whom are said to be local workers.
CWC took a controlling stake in Dhiraagu in 2009 when former President Mohamed Nasheed’s government sold 7 percent of its shares, giving the British-based firm a controlling stake in the company.
Then-opposition parties criticised the sale in local media, arguing that the acquisition of large stakes of domestic companies by foreign investors was bad for the country.
Similar arguments have been levelled against the development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) by Indian company GMR. Earlier today, GMR secured an injunction from the High Court of Singapore against the Maldives cabinet’s earlier decision to void its concession agreement for the US$511 million project and issue the developer with a seven day eviction notice.
The Maldivian government nonetheless has today dismissed such an injunction and vowed that the airport will be run by the state-owned Maldives Airport Company Limited (MACL) by the coming Saturday (December 7).
2 thoughts on “Cable and Wireless Communications sells Dhiraagu majority stake to Bahrain’s Batelco”
Alh'amdhu Lillah Shukur!
GMR affair, is totally a personal and political thing!
Because the Gayyooms are loosing control of reaping what is sown, they cannot bear to watch the reality of not being able to reap from an airport that may not only be of of the best airports in the region, but the world too!
I am sure some of us would have seen "said to be brand new" fire and other vehicles (worth millions and millions of Rufiya, purchased using money from various loans taken for development of this airport), being brought to Maldives shining as new, but ultimately dumped to the bottom of the Indian Ocean!
Many of these were world war 2 remnants, painted new! They were irreparable and could never be used!
However, the ones that were usable, had to be put to use at an alarmingly high cost because they were too old and the non availability of spares. These models were never used anywhere else in the world!
I am sure Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim who were forced out of MACL would be aware of who and who were involved in this episode of airport development in the Gayyoom era!
hey GMR had not brought any new vehicles yet and may be they have plans to bring.
Why Delhi airport is not the yet the number one airport in the world when it is being build and managed by GMR ? Why Maldives airport will be the best in the world ?
Some people will speak without any sense , just defend the Nasheed's corruption.
I am sure GMR being an Indian company, they would have made the Delhi Airport the best not the Maldives airport , given the nationalistic thinking and believe that GMR have.
Cable and wireless have been in this country for many years an they have invested much more than GMR and non of the people speaks against them or want them to leave. Why because it is not a one sided contract , until Nasheed gave away the majority shares, control share is maldives?
Since the idiot Nasheed gave control shares for peanuts just to get quick bucks , but still with 42% shares, maldives is earnings in millions from Dhiraagu, unlike Airport.
Government does not need to pay money to cable and wireless to manage Dhiraagu and but for GMR, we have to pay the money to manage the airport.
This is why majority of people want GMR to leave and then want to see the perpetrators to put behind the bars.
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