Indian telco Reliance Jio has been named as one of three interested parties considering the purchase of the Sri Lankan government’s 50.23 percent stake in the state-owned firm, Sri Lanka Telecom.

The other two in the running were named as Portuguese holding company Pettigo Comercio International LDA, and Fortune International Investment Holding Ltd.

Sri Lanka
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SLT is Sri Lanka's biggest telco with around nine million customers.

As for Reliance Jio, which is headed by Mukesh Ambani, the telco boasts around 440 million subscribers across India.

Sri Lanka's government invited companies interested in acquiring a stake in SLT to show an interest by November, before a deadline to register by January 12 was announced.

The government is expected to choose the winning bidder by the end of the next quarter.

The government has attempted to push plans to privatize various sectors across the country due to the severe financial struggles the nation has faced in recent years.

However, plans for privatization have not been welcome in the past, with SLT employees previously staging island-wide protests against such a move.

Such protests were carried out in November 2022, and led to demonstrations at SLT offices in several cities including Colombo, Galle, and Matara in the south, Anuradhapura in the north-central region, and Trincomalee and Kalmunai in the east.

Banners on display included “Stop the privatization of profit-earning Telecom!”, “Sri Lanka has been bankrupted by privatization!”, and “Stop selling national resources!”.

A considerable stake in SLT is owned by Global Telecommunications Holdings N.V, which owns 44.98 percent of the company.