Tele Connect

Mar 10, 2008 (LBO) – The sale of an equity stake in Sri Lanka Telecom held by Japan’s NTT to Malaysia’s Usaha Tegas group could go ahead, the island’s supreme court has ruled, a reporter at the court said. The UT group was initially expected to purchase 25 percent of the stock with NTT keeping just over 10 percent to preserve its management deal.

Sources close to SLT say the UT group has expressed willingness to take up the entire 35 percent.

Punters have speculated that the controlling stake may be sold at prices of over 40 rupees and are hoping to sell out at a mandatory offer if UT acquires more than 30 percent.

Court has said the sale is between two private parties but if a fresh management agreement is signed by the new shareholder with the government it has to be done by a transparent process through a public notice.

Japan’s NTT which has a 35.2 percent stake in Sri Lanka Telecom has a management agreement with the Sri Lanka government which is the major shareholder giving it the right to appoint a chief executive and finance manager.

The management deal becomes void if NTT’s stake falls below 10 percent.

The sale to UT was stopped by court after rebel lawmakers of the i