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Merger decisions won't be driven by emotion, says LIME boss

Published:Wednesday | January 28, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Managing director of LIME Jamaica and Cayman Islands, Gareth Sinclair, said Tuesday that the planning process for the integration of the regional services of Cable & Wireless Communications Plc and Columbus International Inc in some 50 countries were advanced even as the companies await regulatory approval across multiple markets.

Part of the preparations include new spend of US$400 million announced by CWC last year to expand expand its sub-sea cable.

The CWC-Columbus merger has already been approved in Jamaica, but is awaiting sign-off in Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and Ectel, the regulator for Eastern Caribbean markets.

Asked whether LIME would be reversing any of the services it has outsourced, Sinclair told a breakfast forum hosted by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica that any such decision would be decided on a commercial basis, and that emotions were unlikely to factor into the choices. LIME Jamaica's administrative services were outsourced to Ericcson, and its customer care is handled by Spanish-speaking agents.

LIME itself is currently half the size of what it was in early 2014 after a right-sizing process, and the merged company is likely to follow a similar model, he said.

In mid-January, CWC announced that it was acquiring Columbus - which trades mainly as Flow - for US$3 billion, and would merge the operations.

CWC/Columbus was "in the middle of a fairly intense integration process now from a Columbus/CWC standpoint", Sinclair said Tuesday.

"Columbus operates in nearly 50 countries around the region and in South and Central America. [We are] particularly looking to integrate the companies where we have overlapping operations. A lot of the detail about what the final entity will look like have not been finalised yet. We are getting close," he said.

Integration process

Responding to a query from businesswoman Lorna Green, regarding the employment of Jamaican professionals, Sinclair said, "You can't make emotional decisions ... The integration process is in full swing. Everything is on the table."

He said Jamaica would benefit from the merger through television, mobile, fixed and Internet services at competitive rates, while adding that investment in telecoms is directly related to GDP growth.