March 14 (LBO) – Seven suitors are chasing Sri Lanka’s wireless operator Suntel, but its parent Telia of Sweden may even consider a stock market listing in Colombo if a sale does not go through, a top official said. TeliaSonera, the holding company of Overseas Telia which owns Suntel, is among six firms listed for a sell down by the Swedish government this year. The Swedish government owns 45.3 percent of TeliaSonera. Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings, Malaysia Telekom and VSNL of India are believed to be the seven firms that have expressed interest in the firm.
“We posted our best ever results in 2006, and that has made companies interested in us,” Suntel Chief Executive Jeremy Huxtable told LBO.
“But there is no guarantee that a sale would go through. The parent company may even look at the option of a stock market listing and develop the business further.”
Analysts say Telia of Sweden may be looking to exit the company at a steep price close to 200 million dollars with the Suntel now producing more than 10 million dollars in annualized net profits and prospects looking better.
Suntel posted provisional profits of 886 million rupees in 2006 on a turnover of 7,073 million rupees, 4932 millio