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Jul 29, 2004

Is B.T.L. on verge of buying Intelco?

It?s never quite clear where the rumours originate—with B.T.L., Intelco or the Belize Government–but the tortilla telegraph, not to mention the internet, is working overtime promoting a detailed version of a deal under which Jeffrey Prosser?s Belize Telecommunications Limited will buy out its down and out rival, Intelco. The main points of the alleged transaction are that B.T.L. takes over Intelco?s loans at the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, the International Bank of Miami and the Belize Social Security Board–totalling between forty and fifty million U.S. dollars–in exchange for all of Intelco?s assets. Those assets consist primarily of a fifteen-year exclusive contract to provide telecom services to the government of Belize, along with a partially completed wireless communications network with virtually no customers.

It seems like a lot of money, but with the spectre of strong competitors like Ireland?s DigiCel or AT&T from the States waiting in the wings, it may make sense for Prosser, never a big fan of competition in the first place.

Of course, no one from either company was talking. In an interview last week, B.T.L.?S C.E.O. John Vondras admitted that ?there have been talks? and Jeff Prosser did show up in Belize this week. As for winners and losers, that analysis will have to wait for reality to catch up with the talk.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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