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Axiata said to seek buyers for US$700m of overseas holdings

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 16:20
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Axiata Group Bhd, Malaysia's biggest mobile-phone operator, is seeking to trim stakes in some of its overseas operations in deals that could raise as much as US$700 million, people familiar with the matter said.

[KUALA LUMPUR ] Axiata Group Bhd, Malaysia's biggest mobile-phone operator, is seeking to trim stakes in some of its overseas operations in deals that could raise as much as US$700 million, people familiar with the matter said.

The Kuala Lumpur-based company is seeking a buyer for about 11 per cent of Indonesian unit PT XL Axiata, which has a market value of US$2.2 billion, according to the people.

It is also selling as much as 30 per cent each of listed Sri Lanka unit Dialog Axiata Plc and closely held Cambodian subsidiary Smart Axiata Co, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Total debt at Axiata has risen 55 per cent since the end of 2014 to reach RM21.5 billion (S$7.05 billion) at the end of June, data compiled by Bloomberg show. 

Axiata, which has interests in 10 countries across Asia, will use part of the proceeds from the divestments to cut borrowings, the people said.  A spokeswoman for Axiata didn't immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment.

The Malaysian company owns 83.3 per cent of Dialog Axiata in Sri Lanka and 95.3 per cent of Cambodian subsidiary Smart Axiata, according to its annual report. It also owns 66.4 per cent of its Indonesian unit XL Axiata, whose shares have fallen 26 per cent this year.

Axiata also has operations in Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as minority stakes in Singapore telecommunications firm M1 Ltd and Indian wireless carrier Idea Cellular Ltd.

In April, Axiata completed the US$1.4 billion acquisition of an 80 per cent stake in Nepal's Ncell Pte Ltd.

BLOOMBERG