Mobitel finalizes deal to acquire Hutch for undisclosed price

Transaction to be completed "very soon’’

Mobitel (Pvt) Limited, the fully-owned cellular subsidiary of government controlled Sri Lanka Telecommunications, has finalized an arrangement to buy Hutchison Telecommunication Lanka which has been in business here for several years for an undisclosed price.

The deal will be completed "very soon", sources familiar with it said yesterday. Analysts expected the tab to top USD 100 million.

The transaction has been finalized following necessary due diligence with the two sides agreeing on terms and conditions. Regulatory clearance must now follow.

SLT sources said that acquiring Hutch, a unit of the Hong Kong based Fortune 500 company Hutchison Whampoa will raise the number of its base stations from 5,500 at present to 8,000 and Mobitel will also add a million more subscribers to its present five million strong subscriber base.

"This deal will also clear spectrum interference by Indian CDMA operators and the quality of service to our customers will improve substantially," these sources said.

``By acquiring Hutch, Mobitel will be the largest 3G operator in the country with the best band width.’’

The acquisition would be partly funded with internally generated cash and partly by debt, they said.

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