August 07, 2013
Future of Fiji investment partner in Bemobile up in the air
7 Aug 2013 by Business Advantage
The Suva-based fund signed an agreement in April to take a 40% shareholding in Bemobile, injecting about K550 million (US$ 250m) into the carrier. PNG’s Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) would retain its 51% stake in Bemobile, with the remaining nine per cent held by the PNG Sustainable Development Programme (PNGSDP), Steamships and Nasfund.
Under the agreement, FNPF would have brought in Vodafone Fiji to manage Bemobile.
In a media statement issued this afternoon, the FNPF Chairman, Ajith Kodagoda, said he had ‘recommenced talks with the IPBC’, leaving the door open for the fund to resume its involvement with its Bemobile investment.
He said ‘certain conditions critical to the achievement of the business plan projections’ had not been met.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is reported as blaming ‘governance issues’.
‘Unfortunately, let me say this, the negotiations have been difficult in the sense that there were management issues about some contractual obligations that we as a country felt needed to be negotiated properly because of governance issues,’ he told the Post Courier.
‘Unfortunately those issues were not able to be resolved’.
He told a media conference on Monday the government would be looking at the IPBC and Telikom to fill the void.