Asia Netcom to get new global owner

Consortium sees value in assets

China Netcom Group is selling its Asia Netcom assets to an investor group led by Ashmore Emerging Markets Liquid Investment Portfolio. The consortium also includes the Spinnaker Global Opportunity Fund Limited and Clearwater Capital Partners.

Asia Netcom is a major regional telecommunications infrastructure company which specialises in providing submarine cable capacity, international data and voice services to multinationals and telco carriers in the Asia-Pacific region. It was created in 2003, when China Netcom, the incumbent Chinese telco, purchased the assets of Asia Global Crossing, which was part of the bankrupt Global Crossing venture.

Subject to regulatory approval, the Ashmore Group consortium will pay about US$402 million (NZ$644 million) for the Asia Netcom assets.

Emerging markets, such as China and the Asia-Pacific region in general, are a particular focus of the London-based Ashmore Group. The US$20 billion investment company was originally founded by the ANZ Bank in 1992. The Spinnaker investment fund also has a particular interest in the Asia-Pacific region.

“With the anticipated change to our ownership structure, Asia Netcom’s business strategy will remain focused on strengthening our foundation, which means combining leading-edge MPLS [Multi-Protocol Label Switching] technology with a comprehensive portfolio of end-to-end communications services and network solutions.” says Asia Netcom’s president and CEO, Bill Barney.

“China will continue to be a high priority market as we expand our coverage within Asia Pacific and into key strategic markets internationally.”

Asia Netcom will also maintain a strong partnership with China Netcom, giving it a significant foothold in China’s growing telecoms market, says Barney.

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