Telecom mulls Cook Islands sale

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 10:17 20/12/2013

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Telecom is considering selling its majority stake in Telecom Cook Islands.

Telecom said it was weighing a possible sale of its 60 per cent interest in the company but no decision had been made whether to proceed.

Although Telecom declined to say more, Telecommunications Users' Association chief executive Paul Brislen said it was no surprise, as telcos generally had been pulling back on expansionist strategies from the end of the 1990s.

"Telcos could do no wrong, and then came the crash [in 2001-02]," he said.

Earlier this month Telecom also exited its Australian subsidiary AAPT which it bought for A$2.2 billion in the early 2000s. It has struggled in the competitive Australian market.

Analysts said Telecom got a good price for AAPT, which it sold for A$450 million (NZ$485m) to TPG. It sold AAPT's consumer division in 2010 for A$60m (NZ$75 million).

Commentators said Telecom had signalled earlier this year that it was shifting its focus from delivery mechanisms towards customer service in its mobile and data operations to improve revenue growth.

Brislen said AAPT had been "a disaster" for Telecom and its only successful overseas asset had been the Southern Cross Cable international internet network.

Telecom shares were unchanged at $2.35 after the announcement today.

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- Fairfax Media

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