The Timor-Leste (East Timor) government approved the purchase of Brazilian operator Oi’s stake in Timor Telecom for US$21.1 million, a move that would make the state the majority shareholder.
CommsUpdate reported via news agency Lusa, the transaction still needs approval from the Chamber of Auditors before being fully put through, said finance minister Rui Gomes.
The acquisition involves a 54% stake in Timor Telecom, which is controlled by Telecomunicacoes Publicas de Timor (TPT), in which Oi owns 76.14%, in addition to a direct 3.05% stake held by PT Participacoes SGPS.
The government holds 20.59% stake in Timor Telecom and the rest is held by VDT Operator Holdings (17.86%) and Timorese businessman Julio Alfaro (4.49%).
Trouble operator Oi is selling off assets in an effort to pare down huge debts that have plagued the operator for years.
It was reported last year the Timorese government was planning to acquire the stake for US$14.5 million, and that talks with Oi had been positive.