Dunya Group has bought 70% shares in WorldCall from Omantel for an undisclosed amount, we have checked with sources who were part of the deal.
Early reports suggest that deal between Dunya Media Group and Omantel — that had 70% shares in WorldCall — was signed yesterday and details are likely to be made public during next few days.
It merits mentioning here that 12% shares in WorldCall reside with Salman Taseer (late) while another 18% shares are floated publicly in Pakistan Stock Exchange.
Omantel had bought 65% controlling stakes in WorldCall in 2008 for $193 million. It later bought preferred shares of the company as well.
WorldCall has been in deep financial crisis for past six years as its overall loss figures currently stand at Rs 2.95 billion by end of September 2015.
Sources said the present management of the WorldCall was convinced by Dunya Group to divest its shares to a new buyer as soon as possible as multiple options were unsuccessfully experimented to drag the company out of its financial quagmire.
In 2014, the Group decided to sell out its Wireless Local Loop infrastructure for Rs. 2.17 billion, however, talks didn’t go through.
According to its financial report, WorldCall’s current liabilities exceed its current assets by Rs 9.953 billion despite of the fact that the company fully availed the credit facilities available to it. Current liabilities include dues aggregating to Rs. 91.375 million in respect of Term Finance Certificates and long term loans.
In the past, Omantel, an entity having majority ownership by Government of Oman, being the Parent company provided support WorldCall Telecom through guarantee for loan of $35 million from Askari Bank Limited. This same loan was later taken over by National Bank of Oman. Further, the Parent company also took up preference shares of $20 million issued by the Company in 2013.
WorldCall operates cable and digital TV service, EvDO, DSL, WLL and LDI service under various brands.
Dunya Group is reportedly planning to influence through WorldCall’s cable business and upcoming DTH license that WorldCall is contesting to win.