Struggling New Tel sells debts to BWL

Struggling New Tel sells debts to BWL

ASX-listed telecommunications company New Tel has signed a deal to sell its $22 million Telstra and Optus debts to Broadband and Wireless (BWL). The Hong Kong-based investment group will be paid a combination of cash and New Tel shares, with details yet to be finalised.

BWL has appointed former Optus director Gerard Frack as its acting Australian CEO to develop and implement an aggressive marketing campaign designed to "significantly increase" New Tel's customer base as part of its consolidation program.

"The alliance with New Tel is a good opportunity for us to participate in the consolidation of the telecommunications industry of Australia," said Richard Stegall, senior acquisitions manager for BWL.

Perth-based New Tel has already outsourced control of its customer management services to RSL Com and RSL Mobile as part of its streamlining process. Peter Malone, New Tel's CEO, said up to 50 customer management staff would be transferred to RSL with a core of 10-15 people remaining at New Tel, which would operate as a "virtual telco".

He said Telstra and Optus have been "very supportive" of the outsourcing plans and added that the alliances with BWL, RSL Com and RSL Mobile should see New Tel "move into a position to obtain tangible results during the coming year".

New Tel will also continue to strip down non-core assets and surplus infrastructure as part of its ongoing consolidation. Having divested its mobile data communications subsidiary, Transcom Communications Systems, it is in discussions to sell its remaining interest in automotive manufacturer Advanced Engine Components and is evaluating proposals to sell its Chinese language portal, It is also looking to divest its international gateway switch and satellite earth station facilities because it can access RSL operative infrastructure.

New Tel was suspended from official ASX quotation in October after failing to lodge its annual report for the year to June.

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