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Nortel seeks buyer for stake in LG venture

29 мая 2009

Nortel Networks, the Canadian telecommunications equipment company operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, confirmed on Thursday that it is seeking a buyer for its controlling stake in LG-Nortel, the company’s South Korean joint venture with LG Electronics.

Nortel owns a 50 per cent stake plus one share in the profitable joint venture which was formed in late 2005. As previously reported, Nortel has appointed Goldman Sachs to find possible purchasers for its stake which could be worth as much as $1bn.

The company, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, is in the middle of a restructuring that analysts view as increasingly likely to include the sale of some if not all of its assets. Nortel has confirmed that it was open to offers for other business units including its core carrier networks unit – which Nokia Siemens has expressed an interest in buying.

”LG-Nortel is a successful business with an accomplished leadership team, a culture of innovation, a dedicated employee base and a drive to succeed,” said Mike Zafirovski, Nortel’s chief executive. ”As we work to evaluate the ultimate path forward for all of our businesses, this decision will allow LG-Nortel to embark on the next phase of its journey and realize its full potential.”

The joint venture has had recorded solid revenues and profits since its establishment in November 2005, with several significant customer wins in South Korea and abroad. Last year it had an operating profit of $341m and an operating margin of 27 per cent. In the first quarter of 2009, the operating margin dipped slightly to 26 per cent.

”This proposed divestiture represents the best path forward for LG-Nortel, its customers and employees,” said Peter MacKinnon, LG-Nortel’s general manager. ”LG-Nortel is a strong, independent, technologically astute and commercially savvy organization. With a competitive portfolio of wireless, wireline and enterprise solutions, LG-Nortel is a market leader in Korea and select international markets. Our number one priority is the continued success of LG-Nortel and our customers.”

Nortel, which recently received court permission to extend its bankruptcy protection, said it will seek Ontario Superior Court approval for the proposed sale process that has been agreed with LG Electronics. Any proposed sale that results from the sale process will also require the consent of LG Electronics under the terms of the joint venture agreement, and further approval of the Ontario Court.

Источник: Financial Times

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