Wed | Feb 21, 2018

One less headache for Holness as Caricel is sold

Published:Friday | February 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall/Associate Editor
Holness

The owners of Caricel, Jamaica have sold their controlling interest to a South African entity, Involution Limited, ending a long running nightmare for the Andrew Holness administration.

Since early last year, the Government has been trying to ease its headache over the telecommunications firm Symbiote Investments Limited, which trades as Caricel, by getting an interested buyer to take it over.

Some of Jamaica's international partners, believed to be the United States, Canada and Britain, were seemingly adamant that with its then ownership, Caricel was not fit and proper to operate in the telecommunications sector.

With the Holness administration having already granted an operating licence to the company and faced with a multibillion-dollar bill to revoke it, the sale was seen as the only option to end the saga without bloodletting.

Yesterday, Lowell Lawrence, director and CEO of Caricel, announced the change in ownership under a sale agreement negotiated last October.

"Our choice of this progressive and innovative South African investor is part of our commitment to secure for our customers the best Internet experience in the country at reasonable prices.

"We expect this to create a positive impact on our economy in that it will allow entrepreneurs, students, and families to grow their businesses and improve their quality of life," said Lawrence in a release which also quoted chairman of Involution Limited, Gustav Schoeman.

"I am extremely pleased to welcome Caricel to our family of international telecommunications networks. This investment in Jamaica represents our company's expansion of its global footprint as we seek to create a connected world where technology will drive the transfer of knowledge, and economic development," the release quoted Schoeman.

He added that he was committed to furthering his company's strategy to "disrupt the mobile industry by acquiring and growing the building blocks to create new generation, data-focused, mobile networks".