Commander: No immediate sale

Despite reports indicating today that Commander is up for sale, the telco was quick to dismiss the possibility of going on the market anytime soon.

After a year in which its share price fell from a high of AU$2.28 to 59.5c, Commander has enlisted the services of ABN AMRO to explore the possibility of a sale.

"Some people have had ideas about what to do with the company, so we've engaged ABN AMRO to help us assess whether or not it is a worthwhile proposition, if that results in some viable offers then we'll take it from there," said Adrian Coote, Commander's managing director.

"These stories can really take on a life of their own; the process that we're engaging in at the moment is by no means a free for all," said Coote. "We've certainly had no offers at this stage."

"We have a fairly conservative board, and the decision will only be made based on what's in the best interests of our shareholders, that's the acid test for us," he added.

Commander was suspended from official quotation on the Australian Stock Exchange as of 1 October 2007.

In its annual report, the telco put many of its difficulties in the year down to "major structural change," and some specific obstacles such as "a slower than expected rollout of Commander centre franchises".

While Commander is going to considerable lengths to downplay the rumour of an immediate sale, it has taken a number of steps to prepare the company for acquisition should the possibility arise.

The telco recently set up a datacentre to ease integration should the company be taken over, and has negotiated with Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank to ensure its debt is non-current, i.e. will not be collected in the current financial year.

"At the moment, we'll put to bed the rumours," said Coote. "The process we're going through is very formal and very structured and a result will be reached over time."