French incumbent operator Orange is mulling a possible sale of its business in the Dominican Republic, according to a report from Reuters.
The assets could reportedly raise as much as €900 million ($1.2 billion) that Orange (Paris, France) could use to reduce its substantial pile of debt.
Sources claim the operator is in discussions with several banks and due to appoint a financial adviser in the next few days, according to Reuters.
The same sources also believe that assets could attract interest from a variety of parties, including Millicom (Luxembourg), Jamaica’s Digicel (Kingston), Cable & Wireless Communications (London, UK) and private-equity firms based in the US and Latin America.
Orange Dominica controls about 38% of the country’s mobile-phone market, with market leader America Movil (Mexico City, Mexico) holding 51%, Viva serving 7.4% and Tricom holding a 3% share.
The operator reported revenues of €451 million in 2012 and reported healthy subscriber growth last year.
Analysts quoted by Reuters say local regulatory authorities would never countenance a sale of Orange Dominica to America Movil but that an acquisition by either Viva or Tricom would make sense provided those companies could afford such a move.
Orange has about €39.2 billion in net debt and is under pressure to focus resources on core markets in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa region.
In particular, the entry of low-cost rival Iliad (Paris, France) into its domestic mobile market in early 2012 has forced Orange to defend its market share by slashing prices and overhauling its mobile offers.
Orange is also under pressure to keep pace with rivals rolling out 4G and fiber networks.
According to Reuters, analysts think the sale of Orange Dominica could raise a sum of between €675 million and €900 million for the French telecoms company.