ATH confident of retaining Cook Islands market position

BY: Dionisia Tabureguci

Fiji’s telecommunications conglomerate Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) is confident of retaining a solid footing in the Cook Islands in light of the Cook Islands government’s plans to liberalise its telecommunications market.

ATH revealed this when it released its 2019 audited financial statements yesterday through the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPX), where it is listed.

“On May 2019, the Government of the Cook Islands, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, released the draft Cook Islands Telecommunications Market Competition Policy 2019 for public consultation.  The draft Policy articulates the Government’s intentions to undertake legislative and regulatory reforms to liberalise the telecommunications market sometime in the near future.

While the impact of liberalisation would, by definition, result in a reduction in the market share of the incumbent operator, Telecom Cook Islands Limited and management remain confident that the company will maintain its position as the market leader in the Cook Islands,” ATH said.

Telecom Cook Islands is trading as Bluesky Cook Islands and has just been bought by ATH as part of a bigger acquisition involving two submarine fibre optic telecom cable systems and telecom companies in Samoa, American Samoa and New Zealand.

The US$79 million sale, which began in 2016 and was fraught with difficulties including a legal challenge, was only completed in February this year.

The Cook Islands Government, when stating its intention to liberalise its telecommunications market, said it wants Cook Islanders to benefit from new technologies and new services at affordable prices, all of which is possible through a ompetition in the market.

As well, liberalisation will position Cook Islands to maximise the benefits of the new Manatua Cable currently awaiting construction and which is expected to begin service in mid-2020.

ATH announced a F$54 million consolidated profit after income tax attributed to members of the holding company.