Calcutta, Sept. 23: Leading cellular service provider Usha Martin Telekom Limited (UMTL), which provides mobile services in the city under the ‘Command’ brand name, has been rechristened Hutchison Telecom East Limited.
The service, however, will continue to be provided under the ‘Command’ brand.
In June this year, the Jhawars of UMTL had offloaded their remaining 5 percent stake in UMTL to Kotak Mahindra for Rs 25 crore in an all-cash deal, based on the equity valuation of the Command brand at approximately $ 100 million.
Currently, Hutchison owns 49 per cent stake in the company with the remaining 51 per cent being held by Kotak Mahindra. Hutchison had acquired a controlling stake of the Command brand in 2000 for a price of $ 142.5 million.
“The move is aimed at associating the Command brand strongly with the Hutchison name,” says Sunil Sood, chief operating officer.
The Hong Kong-based group has created a national presence through selective acquisitions since it entered the cellular scene in 1994 with Max Telecom in Mumbai. In 1998, it acquired a 41 per cent stake in Max Telecom Ventures for Rs 0.56 crore.
In 1999, Hutchison entered the Delhi circle by acquiring Sterling Cellular. It also acquired the Cellforce brand in Gujarat by buying out the holdings in Fascel.
The group now operates in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The company feels that to be a formidable force in the cellular market, it should have a presence in the lucrative circles of Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab.