A consortium of Cook Islands investors – led by local businessman Brian Baudinet - is planning to submit an expression of interest for the purchase of Telecom New Zealand’s 60 per cent stake in TCI.
TNZ’s and Digicel have entered into a conditional agreement for the global telecom firm to acquire the stake in the local telecom company for $23 million, however, locals have been given the opportunity to match that offer.
Baudinet has confirmed he is leading a group looking into the feasibility of a share purchase that matches Digicel’s offer.
“There has been a lot of public sentiment and interest promoted recently for localising the 60 per cent shareholding of Telecom Cook Islands,” said Baudinet.
Along with his group, he said he has been reviewing this interest and “investigating the commercial options for securing locally sourced investment and relevant management expertise that can take over the shares and ensure the continued commercial success of TCI, while also ensuring the local TCI management and staff of running the company and the security of their jobs.”
Local expressions of interest are due May 10.
“We assume the profitability is there, because it’s always been there,” said Baudinet.
At this point, he said it would be premature to name the other investors involved in the bid.
Upon receiving additional details from relevant parties, Baudinet said he would be providing more detailed information on the developing bid.
“At a later date, we’d like to involve more of the population to buy shares,” he said.
In addition to this latest effort at obtaining the TNZ stake, Mike Tavioni has also been behind a plan at pooling local money to match the $23 million Digicel bid.
Both Tavioni and Democratic Party leader Wilkie Rasmussen have said the current May 10 deadline for local expressions of interest should be extended.