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PNG in talks with Vodafone UK

Port Moresby,PNG (The National): THE Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) of PNG  is talking directly with Vodafone UK to bring the global telecommunications giant to run bemobile PNG, managing director Wasantha Kumarasiri told EMTV. 
He said recently that IPBC had put the money in bemobile’s trust and talks with UK would follow soon.
Kumarasiri said no proper reason or reasons were given why the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) and Fiji Vodafone cancelled their part of the agreement.
IPBC is the major shareholder in bemobile, with 85% stake.
Initially, FNPF had agreed to invest US$88 million (K200 million) when it signed the deal with IPBC in April this year.
Under the agreement, IPBC was to get equity of 51% while FNPF would own 40%. 
The loan agreement would have seen Fiji’s Vodafone manage bemobile’s telecommunication system.
Kumarasiri said IPBC was saddened over the unfortunate decision by its partners. 
However, he said it had not prevented shareholders from carrying out an alternative plan.
He said IPBC is awaiting feedback from its partner shareholders before the plan would be formally carried out.
He added the invitation was open to  any interested parties who would like to be part of the business project.
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Meanwhile, bemobile chairman Syd Yates said the company was negotiating with IPBC to increase its shareholding and so increasing PNG’s investment and control.
He said bemobile’s shareholders were committed to growing bemobile’s businesses and to providing its customers with the efficient mobile network.
With IPBC’s assistance, bemobile had entered into interim arrangements with its current network equipment supplier to stabilise its network.
FNPF confirmed it withdrew its offer to take up a 40% shareholding in bemobile, saying: “Certain conditions critical to the achievement of the business plan projections were not met”.

The National

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