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Cable & Wireless finalises Columbus International acquisition

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Cable and Wireless Communications, Plc (CWC) announced today that it has completed its US$1.85b acquisition of 100 per cent of the equity of Columbus International Inc. 

Cable and Wireless operates in Jamaica as LIME and Columbus International as FLOW. 

The impending acquisition was announced last November. 

Almost two months later, in January, the Jamaican government authorised the transfer of control, adding that the companies had agreed to certain terms. 

LIME’s rival in the Caribbean, Digicel, had raised concerns about issues such as competition, fairness in spectrum allocations, local loop unbundling and price bundling. 

However, regional territories have in recent weeks been announcing their approvals of the acquisition although they outline certain conditions.


Commenting on the completion of the transaction, Chief Executive Officer, Phil Bentley, said:"This is a transformational deal for Cable & Wireless Communications.  Columbus Communications is an outstanding business; not only do we add significant fibre optic submarine backhaul and terrestrial broadband and TV capability to our leading mobile and legacy copper networks in the Caribbean, but our complementary B2B divisions can now offer geographical focus and a wider product offering in the faster-growing Latin American markets. 

“We expect the operating synergies to be significant; together, the new merged company creates the opportunity to invest more, grow faster, and provide an improved customer experience and, most importantly, a development opportunity for our people that either company could never have achieved on their own. 

“There has been an extensive and professional regulatory review, with appropriate remedies.  We are pleased we now have the necessary Government support to conclude this important transaction and to start making the financial commitments required to deliver an outstanding customer experience and to enhance the telecommunications infrastructure and economic development of the communities we serve." 

Bentley noted that as part of the integration process, the Company “is undertaking a full review of all the brands we currently operate under, including the Flow and LIME brands as well as the business and wholesale brands,” but added that“no decision has yet been made.” 

Commenting on the merger process and next steps, Bentley said, “Most of the markets we operate in have approved our integration plans and therefore today we can start to release some of the US$1.5bn investment monies we have set aside to provide our customers with an unrivalled telecommunications experience, improving coverage, reliability, products and speeds, and providing a welcome boost to both jobs and the economy in the countries in which we operate.

In a small number of markets where we have yet to receive all the necessary approvals required, we cannot commence our integration and investment plans; we will therefore continue to support the local regulatory due process until we have the green light to move forward in those markets.”