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Decision on hold

Ropate Valemei
Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A DECISION by a Fiji mobile company to purchase a mobile operation in Papua New Guinea will be made this year.

In a joint response, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH) and the Fiji National Provident Fund however, said they maintained their earlier position to make the necessary announcement.

Chairman FNPF and ATH Group Ajith Kodagona said it would be the decision to take up equity in the PNG-based mobile company.

A recent announcement by PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill made public last month stated that "other" shareholders of bemobile were selling their shares to Vodafone Fiji and the FNPF.

Mr O'Neill had told Post Courier that the national government had increased its state shareholding to over 50 per cent and agreed for Vodafone Fiji to manage bemobile.

While Mr O'Neill had confirmed the PNG government was not selling its shares, he said Vodafone and FNPF had been tasked to manage bemobile on the shareholders' behalf.

Media adviser to the PNG PM, Daniel Korimbao said that 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.

He said Digicel dominated the PNG mobile phone market controlling 85 per cent of the market with its products.

Bemobile acting chief executive officer Michael Ah Koy and Vodafone Fiji could not elaborate on the development when contacted by this newspaper.

"The stakeholders will make a proper press release at the appropriate time," Mr Ah Koy said from PNG.





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