PHILIPSBURG–The acquisition deal between United Telecommunications Services (UTS) Curaçao and Liberty Latin America is complete. The parties will sign for the share transfer next week, Curaçao Minister of Communication Zita Jesus Leito confirmed to the Curaçao media recently.
The process that St. Maarten has to embark on before its share transfer takes place is different from Curaçao’s and The Daily Herald understands that the process to transfer St. Maarten’s shares will happen at a later date, possibly in a month or two. Curaçao holds 87.5 per cent of UTS’ shares and St. Maarten is a 12.5 per cent shareholder.
The Curaçao media have reported that Jesus-Leito did not say what amount is involved in the takeover of UTS Curaçao because of the non-disclosure clause in the agreement. The minister also did not say anything about the value of UTS. The only thing she commented on was that the telecom company is going for more than the government had assumed. In the meantime, the UTS and Chippie brand names will continue to exist for at least two years after the acquisition by Liberty Latin America, the Curaçao media report.
That company will also be offering free Internet at schools and universities for a
yet-unknown period. After the take-over, the tariffs of the telecom provider will be brought in line with what is internationally accepted, the Curaçao media reported. It is not yet clear whether that means a reduction or an increase.
Shareholder representative for UTS St. Maarten, Minister Cornelius de Weever told Members of Parliament (MPs) during a recent meeting that the UTS shareholder in Curaçao does not have to follow the same process as St. Maarten to proceed with the sale. While St. Maarten needs a “landsverordening” to sell, Curaçao does not.
The intention is for UTS to be sold in its entirety with the exception of subsidiaries Antilliaanse Televisie Maatschappij (TeleCuraçao), Data Planet, UTS St. Kitts and UTS Suriname. TeleCuraçao and Data Planet will be divested as soon as possible, and UST St. Kitts and Suriname are being liquidated.
UTS actively operates in Curaçao, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Bonaire, Saba, Statia and St. Barths. Only the Curaçao and St. Maarten operations are profitable. Curaçao contributes 78 per cent of the company’s overall revenues, St. Maarten 20 per cent; Bonaire 1 per cent; St. Martin, St Barths, Saba and Statia less than 1 per cent.