Dentons picks up Pakistan telecomms contract

CITY firm Denton Hall has been signed by the Pakistani government to act in the planned sale of a US$1.5 billion share portfolio from the Pakistan Telephone Company.

The sale, to an international telecomms group, is being handled by a consortium which

includes Denton Hall, accountancy firm Coopers & Lybrand and merchant bank Morgan Grenfell.

The Denton Hall team, led by media and technology group partner Nick Higham and Andrew Daws, a partner in the corporate finance group, will review and propose changes to Pakistan's legal and regulatory framework, establish the regulatory office and carry out a due diligence exercise in conjunction with local lawyers.

The government has also asked Denton Hall to review existing vouchers schemes, prepare an information memorandum, tender documents and a share sale agreement, and negotiate the sale of shares.

It will also prepare an agreement for the company's future management.

Higham says the firm, which has also been invited to tender for work with the Pakistan Gas Company, won the contract after competing in a two-stage tender process which involved first applying to Morgan Grenfell and later bidding as a consortium to the government.

Denton Hall already has considerable experience in privatisation and telecomms work, including projects in Latvia, Russia, the Czech Republic, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Higham, who is currently in Pakistan, says Denton Hall's Eastern European and Asian experience combined with the Morgan Grenfell's South American work made the consortium extremely attractive.

He says the contract, one of the first telecomms privatisations in the region, is a “major step forward” for the practice.

“There is going to be an enormous amount of these over the next two to three years,” says Higham.

“Obviously the experience we gain this time will stand us in good stead for any future privatisations.”