20 July : State-run BSNL has said it is considering proposals for acquiring a minority stake in an existing telecom operator in Africa.
“We have received proposals. There are various opportunities which are being looked at. However, it is very difficult to give any time-limit,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Kuldeep Goyal said.
Goyal said that the home-grown telecom operator would like to acquire minority stake in the target company and has sufficient surplus cash reserves to fund the acquisition.
“We have not kept any specific cash earmarked for the acquisition. However, we have surplus cash reserves of over Rs 37,000 crore which is sufficient to take care of the inorganic and organic growth plans of the company,” he said.
Goyal said that the spreading wings beyond the border of the country was required as the Indian market was going to become saturated in the years to come.
“In the years to come, the Indian market is going to become saturated. The acquisition is thus aimed at the long-term growth plan of the company,” he said.
The state-owned telecom operator has recently lost its number one position in terms of subscriber to Bharti Airtel.
Acquisition of stake, even a minority one, in an operating firm outside India would thus help the company to streamline revenue.
Africa is an emerging market and has the potential for growth in the days to come.
Goyal said that BSNL has already empaneled eight firms to advice the company on the acquisition issue.