The Unit Trust of Samoa (U.T.O.S.) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fiji company, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (A.T.H.).
Signed in Apia on Friday, the Chief Executive Officer of U.T.O.S., Sa’u Justina Sa’u said the M.O.U. is a step in the right direction for Samoa.
“This will open a lot of doors for us in terms of investment opportunities outside of Samoa including Fiji not only in the telecom industry but also at other sectors,” said Sa’u.
“Part of this also is A.T.H. will look at U.T.O.S., increasing its shareholding as you are aware we only owned 25 percent in Bluesky Samoa."
“We can now move forward and look at the possibility for U.T.O.S. increasing its shareholding in Bluesky Samoa to about 30percent and the same with Bluesky Pacific Holdings."
“We also have the opportunity as you are aware the Govt. of Cook Islands hold 40 percent of the Telecom Cook Islands and Blue-sky owns 60percent."
“So the Govt. of Cook Islands is looking at diverting its 40 percent so this also provides an opportunity for U.T.O.S. and A.T.H. to go invest in terms acquisition of that 40 percent."
“In terms of Telecom Cook Islands A.T.H. already has acquired them so there are opportunities for U.T.O.S. to acquire some of the shareholding in Vanuatu and other region as well."
“So at the end of the day it’s all about expanding investment for better returns for the U.T.O.S.”
Chief Executive Officer of A.T.H, Ivan Fong, said the M.O.U. represents some very exciting and interesting opportunities for both parties.
“The M.O.U. is essentially capturing the working relationship between the two parties going forward,” Mr. Fong told the media.
“We’ve been looking at investing together hand in hand in places in the region where at this stage is telecommunications and I.C.T. Investment but the scope for much more to be done."
“Why it is interesting A.T.H. and U.T.OS and other institution in the Pacific especially because for many years we’ve talked about the need to work together."
“The Pacific is not in a big place and we’ve all heard the issue of people saying we don’t have economy of scale and access of market and that sort of thing."
“However when you look at it broadly we can see that across the Pacific is a population of over ten million people and if we all get together and work together, I think the world will sit up and take notice and we can access more opportunities.
I think we can make a lot of investment and other things work a lot better as well."
“So for us, the future of how we want to work together and we’d like to put this as an example for many other institution in the pacific that it is actually very easy to cooperate rather than just talking about things but let’s just get things done.”
But why is A.T.H interested in U.T.O.S?
“In many of the island countries, I’ve talked about the need to cooperate."
“Within your own country you are very limited in investment opportunities and I can’t speak for the funds but I would say that number of the fund in Fiji I’d like to see them build returns for my retirement and that sort of things so they need good investment to work on."
“So the idea is the funds can work together, they can start to increase the investments, get more diversity and generally you will also open doors and find more opportunities across the pacific."
“[And] that’s why we think it’s interesting and many times we talked about cooperating but I think really we just have to sit down and get some things done and work together because you cannot build relationship if you just talk but don’t work together to actually understand that we can build a trust and these are parties that we can work together with.”