BSNL to appoint consultants for overseas foray

BSNL to appoint consultants for overseas foray

The company is seeking consultants for mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, acquiring telecom licences outside India, a senior BSNL official said.

BSNL, with a view to establishing itself as a global player in the telecom sector and to achieve inorganic growth, is aiming at expanding its area of operations, the official said.

The state-run firm which so far concentrated only on the Indian market (except Delhi and Mumbai), has decided to expand overseas. Sources said BSNL has a cash surplus of over USD 10 billion and would use part of these resources for its overseas foray.

So far, MTNL is the only the state-owned telco that has been bidding for licences abroad.

Moving aggressively on its overseas expansion plans, BSNL has already set up a separate international business division to explore telecom opportunities abroad --  be it acquisition of companies or bidding for licences.

BSNL Chairman Kuldeep Goyal had earlier said the company would look at valuable buy-outs based on due diligence of the target company. The PSU, he said has already received in-principle board approval to enter the global market and bidding for Tunisia is one such step.

The North African country is set to issue new licences for fixed line and basic mobile services. The licences, initially for 15 years, include national and international long-distance services.

BSNL is a late entrant here but is trying to catch up with Indian telecom operators who are looking at Africa for expansion.

Last year, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications entered into negotiations with the South Africa-based telecom giant MTN to expand in the African continent, but talks failed.

Earlier this year, Tata Communications announced plans of expanding operations in Africa through acquisitions, joint ventures, and new projects, and in January increased its stake to 56 per cent in South African fixed-line operator Neotel.

BSNL's sister concern MTNL has already forayed into Nepal and Mauritius. Analysts said BSNL may be exploring the possibilities of bidding for mobile licences in Egypt, Rwanda, Malawi, Turkey and Iran. All these countries will open bids for licence auction in a couple of months.

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