Grid to invest in pounds 400m telecoms network

NATIONAL GRID yesterday shrugged off the financial crisis gripping Brazil by announcing plans to invest pounds 200m in the country as part of a consortium which has won a concession to build a second national telephone network, writes Michael Harrison.

The Grid, which runs Britain's high-voltage electricity transmission network, will have a 50 per cent stake in the venture. Its partners are Sprint of the US and France Telecom, each with 25 per cent stakes. The total investment is pounds 400m. Further finance will be raised through the debt markets.

The consortium has paid pounds 25m for its licence and will have a 40-year concession. In the first year it aims to link 38 cities with its digital telecoms network and cover all Brazil's major population centres within three years.