Thu, Aug 21, 2003 - Page 10 News List

NTT DoCoMo may scale back investment in Taiwan


Leading Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo Inc may scale back a planned investment in a Taiwanese joint venture after suffering losses on other investments overseas, a report said yesterday.

DoCoMo was expected to take a 20 percent stake in the company to be formed from the merger of Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) and KG Telecommunications Co (和信電訊) in a NT$30 billion merger, the Financial Times said, citing sources close to the deal.

As the merger would reduce DoCoMo's stake in the combined company to 5 percent from the 21.4 percent which it already owns in KG, the Japanese firm was forecast to purchase a 23 percent stake in the new venture, according to the newspaper.

Far EasTone, Taiwan's third-largest mobile phone service provider, is partially held by US telecoms giant AT&T.

"However, people close to the deal say DoCoMo wanted to delay the decision on whether to increase its stake by at least a year," the daily said, adding such a delay could force AT&T to sell its shares to someone else.

DoCoMo was under increased pressure from investors to stop earmarking funds for foreign ventures after suffering a massive writedown in the value of such investments, according to the London-based newspaper.

A DoCoMo spokesman declined to comment on the report, but said the mobile phone giant had no plans for additional investment in Taiwan.

"It is expected that our share in the new entity would be smaller [than the 21.4 percent share in KG Telecom]," he said.

The planned merger would create the nation's second-biggest mobile phone operator, the Finan-cial Times said.

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