pwt, on the prowl?

  1. 4,941 Posts.
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    Try, again.

    Another interesting article from Michael Sainsbury today.

    Several of Sainsbury's previous articles have speculated upon the type of price that UEC would realise in an acquisition play.

    More importantly, TVG is now ikely to use PWT as a sector aggregator /consolidator.

    Powertel dial on telcos to take on Optus
    Michael Sainsbury
    AUGUST 21, 2003

    POWERTEL could spend more than $100 million making another two or three acquisitions, as it tries to consolidate smaller telcos and challenge Optus for second place in the telecommunications market for businesses.

    Squarely in its sights is Melbourne-based competitor UeComm, now worth $175 million, and the high-speed internet network player, Request.

    The Powertel board is now controlled by Hong Kong-based TVG, which won a long and spiteful battle with local syndicate Roslyndale over the weekend. TVG already controls Request.

    TVG managing director John Troy told The Australian yesterday Powertel would now look to quickly expand its "footprint" beyond its current east coast network and needed to strengthen its position in Melbourne.

    "UeComm is one, but it is not the only one," he said, adding that Perth was also a target market for an expanded Powertel. "We need east-west capacity."

    Mr Troy said the company had looked at fibre optic networks now in receivership - the $850 million Nextgen Networks and $160 million IP1.

    But Mr Troy said Powertel did not necessarily have to buy the assets.

    The moves would be made in six to nine months. While at least $100 million was available, he said, Powertel was keen to use shares for such deals.

    Powertel finance chief Shane Allen is also expected to be elevated to the top job, having established himself with the company's new owners, after aligning with their opponents.

    "We are comfortable with current management," Mr Troy said. But he suggested that the company needed to add management and staff in its sales and marketing area.

    Powertel's board now comprises independent chairman Richard Griffin, Mr Troy and fellow TVG director Ed Sippel and Energy Australia chief Paul Broad. Mr Troy said another local addition would be made to the board before its next meeting in September.

    Energy Australia continues to hold about 15 per cent of Powertel as part of the Downtown Utilities group.

    TVG also holds local investments in Canberra telco TransAct and Neighbourhood Cable, but will not consolidate these with Powertel, Mr Troy said.

    TVG's offer of 3.85c per share remains open until August 27, and the company meeting in September will vote on a rights issue to recapitalise.

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