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26.03.2008 Business & Finance

Investors Show Interest In GT

By Daily Guide

CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE can confirm that a group of strategic investors are currently in the country, negotiating with government over a possible takeover of Ghana Telecom.

According to the Deputy Minister of Communications, Frederick Opare Ansah, the foreign investors are in the country, hoping to meet government's price tag of the largest telecommunication company in the country.

Mr. Opare Ansah disclosed this on the floor of Parliament last week when the Minority Spokesperson on Communications, Haruna Iddrissu sought to suggest that government had frozen the intended sale of GT.

Mr. Opare Ansah stated that the investors are presently holding a meeting with the sector minister, Dr. Benjamin Aggrey Ntim on the possible acquisition of the company.

The state-owned telecommunications giant has been on the divestiture list for the past two years since government sent the Norwegian management partners of the company, Telenor packing.

A number of firms have since expressed interest in the company but could not broker a deal with government because the amount they offered fell short of government's expenditure.

It would be recalled that the Ministry of Communications denied media reports that government had suspended 66 percent sale of Ghana Telecom, owing to low bidding.

The report further stated that France Telecom had earlier offered $520 million but was rejected for being too low.

Additionally, Spanish and Portuguese telecommunications companies also put in bids but were all considered below the expectation of government.

Though Dr. Aggrey Ntim agreed that government had turned down the offers from the three companies, he said the divestiture process was still ongoing.

Dr. Aggrey Ntim insisted that new companies had tabled fresh bids for ownership of the company and the best bidder would be given the nod to own the strategic stake in GT.

It is believed that government is looking at a figure of $1 billion for the sale of its 66 percent in GT to any strategic investor though it had earlier decided to accept something near $600 million.

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