[LONDON] Ooredoo QSC, the Qatari-owned phone carrier, is considering selling its shareholding in StarHub Pte Ltd, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The company is working with HSBC Holdings Plc to gauge potential interest in its stake in Singapore's second-biggest phone company, the people said, asking not to be identified as the process is private.
Ooredoo owns about 25 per cent of Asia Mobile Holdings Pte Ltd, which in turn holds 55.8 per cent of StarHub, according to the Singapore-based company's annual report. That's equivalent to about 14 per cent of StarHub.
Ooredoo, with operations in South-east Asia spanning Indonesia to Myanmar, wants to sell its StarHub stake to focus on its core Middle East market and on faster growing markets, two of the people said.
Singapore is planning an auction of additional frequencies this year to enable the entry of a fourth mobile carrier, with the introduction of competition aimed at boosting innovation in the country.
Officials from Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte Ltd, which owns 75 per cent of Asia Mobile Holdings, and StarHub declined to comment. HSBC and Ooredoo didn't immediately respond to queries.
ST Telemedia is a unit of Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, Singapore's state-owned investment company.
Shares of StarHub, which has a market value of S$6.8 billion, have risen 6.5 per cent this year, compared with the 1.2 per cent gain in the Singapore benchmark Straits Times Index.
Led by chief executive officer Tan Tong Hai, the company competes with local rivals Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and M1 Ltd to provide mobile, Internet and entertainment services to consumers and businesses.
Ooredoo invested in Asia Mobile Holdings in 2007. Japan's Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp owns 9.9 per cent of StarHub, according to the annual report.