APIA: 9 Feb 2011: BlueSky Communications has clarified several aspects of its purchase of SamoaTel. It released the following statement in response to those queries and to clarify what Bluesky described as “misstatements published and concerns raised” regarding local ownership, SamoaTel staff and BlueSky’s plans for SamoaTel.
1. A 2009 Samoa News article stated eLandia is 68% owned by Robert Allen Stanford, is this still the case? If so appreciate a comment on what impact, if any, of Mr Stanford’s current situation that may have on Blue Sky?
Mr. Stanford is no longer a shareholder in eLandia, Blue Sky or any other related Company and, as such, his current situation has no impact on Blue Sky. At no time in the past did Mr. Stanford, or any of his representatives hold any management or director positions at eLandia, Blue Sky or any other related Company. All of Mr. Stanford’s holdings in eLandia are now held in a receivership estate. In addition, shares previously owned by Mr. Stanford are now controlled and voted upon by current eLandia Management. As was noted by eLandia in our public filings, there was some negative impact on eLandia’s operations in Latin America in 2009 when news of Mr. Stanford’s activities were uncovered but since eLandia has nothing to do with Mr. Stanford, there has been no further impact to the Company’s operations since that time. Further, at no time were Bluesky’s operations in American Samoa negatively impacted by Mr. Stanford’s association with the Company.
2. What is the make-up of SamoaTels’ shareholding upon the completion of this purchase?
Our bid for 75% ownership in the shares of SamoaTel is comprised of not only BlueSky Communications but up to 24% of the shares will be owned by local investors based in Samoa and American Samoa. The remaining 25% ownership of SamoaTel’s shares is to be owned and managed by the Unit Trust of Samoa (UTOS). Our interest is to have as many Samoan investors as possible to partner with us.
3. What are BlueSky’s plans for SamoaTel staff?
We believe that maintaining and investing in local human resources is critical for continuity of operations to meet both the immediate and long term needs of SamoaTel’s customers. There is no one who knows the current customers, vendors, services and network of SamoaTel better than its current employees. Upon closing this transaction, we plan to generate revenue growth which should allow us to increase employment as we add new services and new subscribers. As with any private enterprise, as we move forward, employees that want to stay with us need only to perform their jobs. Furthermore, we must convince the people of Samoa that we are delivering the services they want so they can return their loyalty to SamoaTel and allow us to continue hiring and developing local talent. After all, our primary focus is on customers. At the heart of our plans is meeting and then exceeding customer expectations. We are focused on providing better access to quality and affordable service and providing new services to the people of Samoa.
4. How many subscribers does Blue Sky have in American Samoa?
Bluesky Communications has been providing wireless, Internet, long distance and cable television services for over 11 years in American Samoa. As part of the pre-qualification information required by the SamoaTel Privatization Committee, we submitted verified quantity of subscribers in our network. We have well over
20,000 subscribers, the minimum required for pre-qualification. We also serve several thousand subscribers for Cable Television in American Samoa.
5. A number of Samoa’s private sector stated that Blue Sky does not satisfy all of the per-qualifications criteria by Ministry of Finance?
We responded fully and before the deadline of November 19, 2010 to the entire pre-qualification requirements as stipulated by the SamoaTel Privatization Committee. We met or exceeded every single requirement. In addition, we responded to any and all questions put forward by the Committee. The company that was approved for the bid based on these requirements is AST Telecom, LLC, trading as Bluesky Communications.
6. Can you confirm if eLandia international is majority shareholder of Blue Sky Communications? If so what’s its shareholding and when did it acquire Blue Sky?
Bluesky is 100% owned by eLandia International. eLandia acquired Bluesky in February 2006. eLandia is a publicly traded company in the USA. Information regarding its share holdings is publicly available at www.sec.gov.
7. Is Blue Sky still on course to finalise the deal on 14 Feb 2011?
Bluesky is on course to complete the transaction as agreed in the purchase agreement. We continue to work with local investors to include as many as possible before the transaction completes.
8. What course of action will Blue Sky take if Samoan Cabinet decides to reconsider the sale?
Bluesky has worked closely throughout the course of the privatization process with the Government of Samoa, the Privatisation Committee and the transaction advisers supported by the World Bank. The privatization process has been conducted in accordance with international best practice and has been transparent and accountable. We continue to work closely with the Government and the Privatisation Committee to complete the transaction and there has been no indication that the sale of 75% of SamoaTel is being reconsidered.
9. Is there a meeting scheduled with SamoaTel Staff?
We have a meeting scheduled to address SamoaTel staff on Thursday.
Mr Adolfo Montenegro, CEO and President of BlueSky said:
“We believe that we have complied with any and all requirements of a fair and transparent bid process closely managed by the SamoaTel Privatisation Committee. Furthermore we believe that we must have local investors to be a truly local company which we intend to be from the start. We are focused on providing better access to quality and affordable service and providing new services to the people of Samoa. The staff of SamoaTel is critical to this goal and our intention is strengthen and develop our local staff.
“Over our eleven year history in American Samoa we have successfully improved the lives of the Samoan people through consistently introducing new technology, investing in local people, and improving quality, coverage and customer service. We believe with our proven experience we will improve SamoaTel and we will improve the lives of the people of Samoa. “
For further information regarding this press statement please email email@example.com