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China's telecom carriers to put US$33.7b tower assets into new firm

[HONG KONG] China's three main telecom operators have agreed to consolidate towers and related assets into a jointly owned firm, as the carriers aim to centralise operations and reduce duplication of telecommunications infrastructure on the mainland.

The three carriers will together put their telecom towers and related assets, worth a total 213.9 billion yuan (US$33.71 billion), into newly formed China Tower Corp Ltd, in a deal that will be settled by issue of new shares and in cash.

China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd will put telecom tower assets worth 63.18 billion yuan in China Tower, the listed firm said in a filing late on Wednesday. The company said it expected to realise 9.68 billion yuan in gains from the deal.

China Telecom Corp Ltd said it would put 34.34 billion yuan worth tower and related assets into China Tower, adding it expected to see a 5.13-billion yuan gain.

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China Mobile Ltd also said it expected to realise 19.5 billion yuan in gains from transferring its tower assets, which are valued at 116.37 billion yuan.

China Tower was established by China Unicom, China Mobile Ltd and China Telecom in 2014 to centralise construction and operation of telecom tower resources. The aim was to prevent duplication and redundant construction of towers and related infrastructure in the country.

China Tower will be 28.1-per cent owned by China Unicom on completion of the integration of tower assets, while China Mobile will hold 38 per cent, and China Telecom 27.9 per cent. State-owned China Reform Holding Co Ltd will own 6 percent after it subscribes to new shares of China Tower Corp.