Ncell, Nepal’s leading telecommunication service provider operated as a private company, has gone a high sound change in ownership as 80 percent of its shares, originally acquired by Malaysian company Axiata Group for a staggering 1.04 trillion rupees, are sold recently for Rs 6.06 billion to a British firm SpectraLite UK. The buyer firm was registered only three months ago is said have acquired the majority stake from Axiata.
Satish Lal Acharya, a Singapore based Nepal businessman owns SpectraLite, and also associated with Sunivera Capital Ventures Pvt Ltd, currently holding a 20% Ncell stake. Axiata Group’s had decided to exit the Nepali market, citing escalating business challenges in Nepal. SpectraLite UK bought at a total of 50 million US dollars (6.06 billion rupees) which be settled all within the next six months.
Experts speculate Axiata’s departure is linked to Ncell’s expiring license, substantial renewal costs, and the telecom company’s declining earnings.
Ncell, which received permission for GSM mobile services on August 16, 2011, saw Axiata’s entry into Nepal in 2016, with the initial acquisition of Ncell shares amounting to 1.36 billion US dollars (1.43 billion rupees at the prevailing exchange rate).
Despite the existence of an agreement for the purchase and sale of shares, regulatory bodies have not been officially informed of this transaction. The holding company, Axiata, and its local partner, Satish Lal Acharya, have received explicit instructions not to engage in the buying or selling of Ncell shares without obtaining prior approval from the Nepal Telecommunication Authority. In a formal communication, the Authority has issued a reminder to Ncell, emphasizing that any transactions involving the purchase or sale of more than 5 percent of shares must receive official approval before proceeding.