HONG KONG: British telecoms giant BT Group has agreed to sell its stake in Hong Kong's third largest mobile operator SmarTone for about a third of what it paid for it in 1999 as it continues to dispose of investments to cut a pile of debt.
The move came after Hong Kong blue chip property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties raised its offer price for SmarTone by 3%. .
“The transaction, which is expected to be completed in January, is part of BT's disposal of non-core assets and another step in its debt reduction programme,” BT said in a statement yesterday.
Sun Hung Kai Properties said in a separate statement that BT had accepted its terms after it raised the price of a general offer for SmarTone shares to HK$8.50 each from HK$8.25. The acquisition of BT's stake will give Sun Hung Kai Properties nearly 51% of SmarTone. BT had paid HK$25 a share for a 20.1% stake in SmarTone in 1999. It later increased the stake to 20.8%.
Based on the revised offer, BT would receive HK$1.03bil from Sun Hung Kai Properties for its 121.28 million SmarTone shares. The property developer said the revised deal would increase its cash offer for SmarTone shares it did not own to HK$3.47bil from HK$3.37bil. – Reuters