A technical team recommended the government of Timor-Leste (East Timor) increase the state’s stake in Timor Telecom by buying the shares owned by Brazilian telecommunications company Oi, according to official sources in Dili.
The sources told Portuguese news agency Lusa this recommendation was the “only option” proposed by the technical team that Friday presented a preliminary report on the possible purchase of Oi’s stake in Timor Telecom.
The team, led by the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications, Gastão de Sousa, his Deputy Minister, Inácio Moreira and the deputy finance minister, Hélder Lopes, is now preparing to finish the study, which should be taken to the Council of Ministers this month.
The issue involves the largest stake in Timor Telecom (54.01 percent), controlled by Telecomunicações Públicas de Timor (TPT) which, in turn, is 76-percent owned by Oi.
The remaining shareholders of TPT are the Fudação Harii – Sociedade para o Desenvolvimento de Timor-Leste (linked to the diocese of Baucau), which controls 18 percent and Fundação Oriente (6 percent).
The capital of Timor Telecom is split between TPT (54.01 percent), the Timorese State (20.59 percent), a company based in Macau VDT Operator Holdings (17.86 percent), the Timorese businessman Júlio Alfaro (4.49 percent) and PT Participações SGPS (3.05 percent).
Outside Timor, the purchase of shares held by former PT SGPS in Timor Telecom, now controlled by Oi – which wants to sell – has generated interest from at least three candidates.
In addition the Fiji Pension Sovereign Fund, which sent delegates to Dili in February to gather information on Timor Telecom (the strongest bid), there are at least two other candidates, including Singapore-based WebSat Media. (macauhub/BR/PT/TL)