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Chinese Investor Acquires Majority Stake In ETL

Source: Vientiane Times

China’s Comba Telecom has vowed to provide Lao users with improved service and mobile experiences after it successfully acquired a majority stake in Laos’s ETL Public Company and stepped up its management improvement efforts.

The Chinese investor bought a 51 percent stake while the Lao government holds the remaining 49 percent, an official of the ETL Public Company told Vientiane Times yesterday.

The move saw ETL Public Company officially renamed Enterprise of Telecommunications Lao (ETL) Co., Ltd in the ceremony on Tuesday at the company’s headquarters in Vientiane marking the successful establishment of the ETL Co., Ltd and a work transfer.

Mr Wu Jing Cheng was named the director of the newly-established company replacing, Mr Thongsing Vilaivong, as director of the former ETL Public Company.

The Lao government signed a joint venture agreement with Jiafu Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comba Telecom in August 2016.

Following the agreement, some 51 percent stake in ETL was sold to Jiafu Holdings, according to Xinhua News Agency .

The newly-established company is the first Laos-China joint venture telecom operator.

Comba Telecom is confident of its investment in ETL and will seek to provide users with better services and experiences while achieving economic and social benefits for the sake of Lao people, according to Xinhua’s report.

Lao Minister of Post and Telecommunications Thansamay Kommasith was quoted by Xinhua as saying at the ceremony that it was a major event in the history of Laos’ telecom. The move fully illustrated the determination of the Lao government in reforming ETL public company, which is of great significance in promoting the development of Lao telecommunications as a whole, he was reported as saying.

Telecom Lao was established in 2000 as a state-owned enterprise, becoming ETL Public Company in 2011, the official of the company said. Currently, there are five telecommunication service operators in Laos, according to the Lao Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.

They are ETL Co., Ltd; Lao Telecom with a 51 percent stake held by the Lao government; Star Telecom also with a 51 percent stake, VimpelCom Lao C0., Ltd (Beeline) with the Lao government holding a 22 percent stake; and the state-owned Sky Telecom that provides only internet service. The determination to reform ETL public company came as the Lao government works to improve state enterprises for more efficient operation.

Government spokesman Prof Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher told local media recently that of 180 state enterprises some were facing operational difficulties thus the government wanted to instigate improvements to make operations more efficient. Lao Airlines is one of those firms set to undergo improvements and open to investment with the government is seeking additional shareholders to foster improvements within the national flag carrier.