Tele Rate

Dec 01, 2008 (LBO) – Fitch Ratings has confirmed Sri Lanka Telecom’s ‘B+’ long term foreign currency credit rating, with a stable outlook, and says it is increasing market share in the mobile market, though margins are narrowing. “The company also enjoys a dominant share of the international long-distance and IP and data-related services.”

In the nine moths to September 2008, SLT reported revenues of 35 billion rupees, which is a 9.8 percent increase over the same period last year.

“The changes to SLT’s ownership with the exit of Japan’s NTT Corporation (‘A+’/Stable) do not appear to have resulted in any notable changes to its business or financial strategy,” Fitch said.

“Fitch understands that the Government of Sri Lanka is in negotiation with Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd (UT, a major shareholder of Maxis Communications Berhad of Malaysia) which acquired NTT’s stake, with regards to various administrative arrangements.”

Sri Lanka’s government has a more than 50 percent effective ownership in SLT.

Fitch expects competition to increase, particularly in the mobile segment, following the launch of services by India’s Bharti Airtel Limited (‘BB+’/Stable) as the fifth mobile operator later this year.

“The wea