“This is a transformational deal for Cable and Wireless Communications. Columbus Communications is an outstanding business; not only do we add significant fibre optic submarine backhaul and terrestrial broadband and TV capability to our leading mobile and legacy copper networks in the Caribbean, but our complementary B2B divisions can now offer geographical focus and a wider product offering in the faster-growing Latin American markets,” said CWC chief executive officer, Phil Bentley.
Bentley said CWC, which operates in the Caribbean under the name LIME, said ‘we expect the operating synergies to be significant; together, the new merged company creates the opportunity to invest more, grow faster, and provide an improved customer experience and, most importantly, a development opportunity for our people that either company could never have achieved on their own.
“There has been an extensive and professional regulatory review, with appropriate remedies. We are pleased we now have the necessary government support to conclude this important transaction and to start making the financial commitments required to deliver an outstanding customer experience and to enhance the telecommunications infrastructure and economic development of the communities we serve.”
Bentley said that as part of the integration process, the CWC is undertaking a full review of all the brands the two companies now operate, namely LIME and FLOW, but added “no decision has yet been made”.
Bentley said that “most of the markets we operate in have approved our integration plans and therefore today we can start to release some of the US$1.5 billion investment monies we have set aside to provide our customers with an unrivalled telecommunications experience, improving coverage, reliability, products and speeds, and providing a welcome boost to both jobs and the economy in the countries in which we operate.
“In a small number of markets where we have yet to receive all the necessary approvals required, we cannot commence our integration and investment plans; we will therefore continue to support the local regulatory due process until we have the green light to move forward in those markets.”
Apart from Jamaica, the companies had received regulatory approval from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago on certain conditions, while the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has not yet indicated whether it would approve the merger.