Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 1:49 AM on Monday 21 April

/ Front page / Business

PNG optimistic of deal with Fiji

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, December 29, 2012

THE Papua New Guinea government believes Vodafone Fiji's impressive performance in the Fiji market can guide bemobile to success.

This follows the recent announcement by PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill that Vodafone Fiji and the Fiji National Provident Fund had been invited to take up equity in the PNG-based mobile company.

"Vodafone Fiji and its partner FNPF have confirmed they are doing so. A due diligence exercise is underway right now," said media adviser to the PNG PM, Daniel Korimbao.

"Once this is completed, IPBC (Independent Public Business Corporation of Papua New Guinea) will announce the details.

"We have not been given any indication on the timing of this. It is confirmed as the PM announced that the PNG government will retain controlling interest in bemobile, and will recapitalise the company."

Mr Korimbao said Vodafone Fiji had been invited to manage the company.

He said a consortium bought into bemobile in 2008.

"The consortium consists of Hong Kong-based General Enterprises Management (GEMS) with 20 per cent, US-based Triology International Partners (20 per cent), NASFUND of PNG (5 per cent) and Nambawan Supa of PNG (5 per cent)," Mr Korimbao said.

"They put up K150million (approximately F$129.4million) for 50 per cent equity, Telikom PNG Limited, owned by the PNG government, held the other 50 per cent.

"They promised a roll-out program and set certain milestones they said they would achieve.

"But the company simply failed to take back ground in the market share from Digicel which only entered the PNG market in 2007."

Meanwhile, Mr Korimbao said Digicel dominated the PNG mobile phone market controlling 85 per cent of the market with its products.