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BT denies it dumped LG because of Hanaro failure

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Nov 28,2003
LG Group’s recent failure to take over Hanaro Telecom was “not whatsoever” the reason that prompted British Telecom to dispose of its entire 17 percent stake in LG Telecom, according to Graham Moore, president of BT Asia Pacific. Mr. Moore was visiting Korea yesterday to attend the board of directors’ meeting of LG Telecom, the smallest of the three mobile carriers in Korea. The largest telecom company in the United Kingdom has been selling its stakes in telecommunications companies in Asia over the recent years, prompting speculation that it is poised to exit the region. In 2001, the company disposed of its stake in Maxis Communications in Malaysia and sold its 21 percent stake in SmarTone of Hong Kong last December. “British Telecom continues to be committed to its core business in Asia-Pacific,” Mr. Graham said. The sales of its holdings in Asian telecom companies were the result of pooling capital to pay down debt and to change its business strategies, he said. After the bursting of the dot-com bubble and amid a worldwide telecommunications recession, the company went through changes and refocused its core strategies, Mr. Moore said, which no longer include any interest in retail telecommunications in the Asia-Pacific region. The company is now focusing on mobile and broadband services in the United Kingdom and focusing its foreign business on corporate customers, he said. According to David Clarke, a spokesman of the company, British Telecom was on a “buying spree” three years ago, and its debts at one time ballooned. Those debts, though, are now only one-fourth of their peak of 30 billion pounds ($50 billion). by Kim Hyo-jin


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