France Telecom Reportedly Shows Interest in Cambodian Investment

With telecommunications companies saying they expect buyouts and mergers soon within the sector, France Telecom, one of the largest telecommunications firms in the world, has reportedly expressed an interest in Cambodia’s fiercely competitive market.

Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard said the company could consider investing in the former French colonies Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, where it is already installing new lines for the state telecom operator, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

The region has “strong economic growth, and a penetration rate that is still pretty weak, so of course these are interesting countries,” he was quoted as saying on Wednesday. A company spokesman declined to comment. In June, French secretary of state for foreign trade Anne-Marie Idrac said France Telecom was in discussions with a possible partner in Cambodia.

The reported interest comes the same week that qb announced an offer to buy out its competitor Star-Cell.

Simon Perkins, CEO of the Hello Point network, said he anticipated that an entrance by France Telecom, which has investments around the world, would put pressure on the sector, especially the smaller players, who are struggling.

“France Telecom is a big international player with its Orange brand. That would have quite an impact on the smaller players,” he said. “You would have a larger international player playing on the same field as all the local small players.”

Mr Perkins said his company, which is ranked fourth in size by number of subscribers, was not currently considering any plans to merge or buy companies, something that smaller companies are being forced to do.

Alan Sinfield, CEO of qb, said he anticipated that France Telecom would be interested in larger companies. It would be unusual for a large company, like France Telecom, to buy and merge several small companies, which would require more effort than buying a leader.

He said that if France Telecom did invest, it would show the market’s potential.

“If anything it just shows that we are on the right track if a larger company like France Telecom is interested,” he said.


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