Ncell has submitted the details of its sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Spectrlite UK to the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) involving the sale of its 80% equity stakes in Ncell. The authority will now study Axiata’s version in this hot transaction.
NTA spokesman Santosh Paudel confirmed receiving the details from Axiata. He said “We have received the proper works. NTA will now study what’s in it.”
Axiata’s decision to sell its share in Ncell has triggered speculations in the country with suspicions of the deal having a ‘motif’. Axiata’s details to NTA will give its side on this deal.
Ncell shares details of stakes sale to NTA
Now that Ncell has turned in its details to NTA for selling its shares to Spectrlite UK, the authority will examine any wrongdoing. In the meantime, the government’s high-level investigation committee is also closely studying the Axiata-Spectrlite UK agreement.
Earlier, the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee directed the government not to approve the sale of Axiata’s shares in Ncell unless the private telco submits its report. There were suggestions that Axiata was hesitant in offering details of its deal to the authorities. However, this marks a new development in the entire saga. Previously, Ncell offered facts regarding Axiata’s deal with Spectrlite stating that its transaction follows the existing laws of Nepal.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” has remained vocal on this transaction. Recently, at the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee meeting, he reiterated that anyone found breaching the prevailing law in the deal will face action. The idea of bringing Ncell under government ownership or its nationalization was also raised in the committee meeting on December 19.
The State Affairs Committee has directed the government to make necessary ammendments into the prevailing regulations to nationlise Ncell.
Now, NTA will study and assess the details involving Axiata’s Ncell stake sale to Spectrlite UK and determine if the agreement complied with the prevailing regulations. At the same time, the government will also wait on the 5-member investigation committee’s findings. Their report is due in early January 2024.
About Axiata exiting Nepal
On November 29, Axiata announced that sell its equity stakes in Ncell and exit Nepal. Then on December 01, the Malaysian telco giant said that it had reached a Sale and Purchase Agreement with Spectrlite UK for its 80% shares in Ncell for a fixed consideration of $50 million. It’s also suggested that the decision to sell the shares was taken on September 29, 2020. However, the telco group failed to share the information with Nepali authorities.
Spectrlite UK is owned by Satish Lal Acharya whose company Sunivera Capital Venture owns 20% stakes in Ncell. Axiata said that the adverse business challenges led to its decision to leave Nepal. You may like to read: Challenges of Telecom Operators in Nepal
Will and should the government acquire Ncell after 2029 when the private operator’s license expires? Have your say in the comments below.
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