Edotco gets permission to buy back Robi shares
The telecom regulator approved a proposal from edotco Bangladesh, a tower business company, to buy back 31.01 percent shares from its parent company Robi.
Once the buyback is completed, edotco's total holding in its Bangladesh unit will expand to 80.01 percent while Robi's will shrink to 19.99 percent. Currently, Robi holds 51 percent shares in the company and edotco 49 percent.
“We have taken the decision following edotco's application as the company agreed to comply with the draft Tower Company Guideline,” said Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission or BTRC.
The Malaysian telecom tower management company aims to get a full licence to run its operations in Bangladesh.
In April, edotco applied to buy back the shares from Robi as the draft guideline does not allow any company to have any affiliation with any mobile phone operator.
The draft also said any foreign tower company must have local partners to run its business in the country, promoting some local companies to start contacting edotco, said a senior official of the company.
“Edotco will continue focusing on improving efficiency and pushing the boundaries of innovation in Bangladesh, in concert with the industry's and the commission's aspirations under the Digital Bangladesh 2021 initiative,” Darryll Sinnappa, managing director of edotco Bangladesh, said in a statement yesterday.
At present, edotco manages 8,000 towers of the six mobile phone operators in Bangladesh with permission from the BTRC.
In 2014, Robi applied to the BTRC to transfer 80 percent of its shares to edotco but the commission rejected the plan.
According to the Tower Company Guideline, the base price for auction for a new network tower company will be Tk 3 crore and the annual licence fee Tk 50 lakh.
There will be no revenue sharing in the opening year, and then it will be 5.5 percent for the subsequent years, according to the guideline. In Bangladesh, edotco became the first company to have introduced environment-friendly towers and wind-turbine towers.