Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cable & Wireless group moves on Cuba

February 28, 2010
Cable & Wireless group moves on Cuba

THE international arm of Cable & Wireless is close to securing a
foothold in Cuba, the first step of an expansion plan as it prepares for
life after its UK arm has been demerged next month.

Backed by a $1 billion (£655m) war chest, chief executive Tony Rice is
eyeing opportunities in Central and Latin America to capitalise on the
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) hub in Panama.

However, he has also promised to shake up the portfolio of small
operators that date to when the group was the telecoms carrier for the
British Empire.

CWC will run a subsea internet cable from Jamaica into Cuba. The deal
puts it in a strong position to pick up the stake in Etecsa, Cuba's
state-controlled mobile phone operator, that Telecom Italia is expected
to sell shortly.

"The starting point is the cable landing but the greater prize is
working with the government to develop its telecoms market," said Rice,
who is also preparing for mobile phone spectrum auctions in Costa Rica.

He wants to tackle CWC's portfolio of part-owned associates, in
Trinidad, Afghanistan and the South Pacific. In the Maldives, it
recently took control of the telecoms carrier from the government. "I
want to move those businesses to majority control so we can run them
better or divest them," Rice said.

CWC has greater financial freedom after hiving off Worldwide. "CWC has
suffered as the corporate cash machine but now effectively the kids are
leaving home," said Rice.

C&W shareholders approved the split last week and the demerger is due to
be completed by March 26.

Cable & Wireless group moves on Cuba - Times Online (27 February 2010)

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