Tele Deal

March 24, 2007 (LBO) – Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Japan’s largest phone company, is tipped to sell off its flagship investment in Sri Lanka as early as this week, to the owner of Malaysia’s biggest mobile operator. “Supreme Court has allowed the sale to proceed, and we expect the Malaysian investor to wrap up the deal as early as this week or by end of the month,” said Priyantha Kariyapperuma, director general, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka.

The Japanese giant invited Usaha Tegas Sdn to study its books for a possible sale a year ago. But the deal was suspended by court after a rebel lawmaker from the island’s ruling People’s Alliance party sued, saying it lacked transparency.

The Supreme Court ruled that the sale is between two private parties, but if the government signs a fresh management agreement with the new shareholder, it must be done through a public notice.

“The Malaysian investor has agreed to the terms and their officials are also expected in the country shortly to finalise the deal,” Kariyapperuma said.

NTT Communications, which owns a 35.2 percent stake in Sri Lanka Telecom, last week lodged its entire stake with the Colombo Stock Exchange Central Depository