GO plc asks banks for advice on full sale by Emirates

Reuters reports that GO plc is asking for banks’ advice on ‘full sale’ of telecoms company

Reuters has reported that telecoms operator GO has “invited banks to pitch for the role of advising it on the full sale of the company.”

Quoting “sources with knowledge of the matter,” the international news agency carried a report in its daily brief on bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals of companies.

The move comes after the company’s majority shareholder, Emirates International Telecommunications Malta Limited (EITML) informed its board of directors of its intention to seek to dispose of its shareholding in the company in the short term.

EITML – a subsidiary of Dubai-based Emirates International Telecommunications LLC (EIT) – owns 60% of GO plc.
In a stock exchange announcement in July, GO said it would be making further announcements as and when required by listing rules.

EITML has stakes in du, Axiom Telecom, and Interoute, and serves as the primary telecoms investment vehicle for Dubai Holding – the global investment company owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

In July’s annual meeting, GO shareholders endorsed the spin-off of a subsidiary, Malta Properties Limited (MPL), into a separate, and publicly listed, entity focused on the property management of various parcels of land devolved to it by the government.

Based on a recent report carried out by firm Architecture Project, MPL’s property portfolio, covering 11 different sites, is valued at nearly €53 million.

“The spin-off of MPL will allow GO to focus on its main business of communication while MPL focuses on maximising long-term value for our shareholders from the Company’s extensive property portfolio,” MPL chief executive Nikhil Patil said.
As a result of the MPL spin-off, all GO shareholders will receive exactly the same number of shares in the new entity as they currently own in GO.

A representative from HSBC Malta plc asked the board of directors during the EG whether it was EITL’s intention to also dispose of the shares in the spin-off company. Chairman Deepak Padmanabhan, who is appointed by EITML, replied that issues of shareholder intentions would not be answered by the board of directors.

Observers were surprised at the speculative question from a representative of a leading financial institution, since it is not customary for HSBC to participate actively in the general meetings of other listed companies.