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COLOMBO (Dow Jones)–Distilleries Co. of Sri Lanka (DIST.SL) said Friday it will pay $21 million to acquire local fixed-line operator Lanka Bell Ltd. COLOMBO (Dow Jones)–Distilleries Co. of Sri Lanka (DIST.SL) said Friday it will pay $21 million to acquire local fixed-line operator Lanka Bell Ltd. “The acquisition may take about a month to complete. We will start the process next week,” Damien Fernando, the company’s finance manager, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Late Thursday Milford Holdings Ltd. – a subsidiary of Distilleries – signed a share purchase agreement with a consortium of shareholders who together own 76% of the issued capital of Lanka Bell.

Fernando said the company is in the process of obtaining the remaining shares. The purchase will be made with internal funds ofMilford Holdings, he said.

Lanka Bell is a small fixed line operator with a market share of around 7%, or about 100,000 subscribers.

It’s 60% owned by Singapore’s Transmarco Ltd. (T21.SG) and has invested over $150 million in expanding its business in Sri Lanka since setting up operations in 1997.

Fernando said Distilleries plans to grow Lanka Bell’s subscri