MAURITIUS TELECOM CLEANS UP ITS BALANCE SHEET AND SELLS SUBSIDIARIES

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Mauritius Telecom will sell off four of its thirteen subsidiaries in order to focus on its core business: fixed and mobile telephony and the internet. Two of these - Southern Telecom and Teleserve - are based overseas and the other two - Consultel and Net Mauritius - are based in Mauritius. A source at Mauritius Telecom told L'Express: "These companies do not correspond with our corporate philosophy."

Net Mauritius was launched in 1998 before the internet had really taken off to provide business-to-business transactions online. It put various government services online as well as Air Mauritius, theState Investment Corporation and MT itself. However the project soon began to "take on water" and MT wants to dispose of its 21.5% share.

Consultel is an ICT consultancy aimed at helping Mauritian companies use the internet. According to a company "Consultel did not take a long view. The project's not working." Therefore MT plans to liquidate the company.

Southern Telecom is another story.It was bought with the intention of giving MT experience in liberalised markets. It was a joint venture with a South African company in which MT had an 85% share. It was supposed to offer value-added services in its market but was not successful. Teleserve was a joint venture with Mozambique Telecom again focused on value added services. But the Government's intention to privatise has put an end to the venture as there would then be a conflict of interest.

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