NasionCom raises capital base


FAST-GROWING telecommunications company NasionCom Sdn Bhd has issued RM21mil of redeemable cumulative convertible preference shares (RCCPS) to fuel its expansion and prepare for flotation on the KLSE Mesdaq market in the second quarter 2004. 

The issue had increased the company's equity base from RM16mil to RM37mil, executive vice-chairman Datuk Chee Kok Wing told StarBiz

Shamsul Khalid Ismail

“We've engaged Commerce International Merchant Bank Bhd as the merchant banker for the initial public offering (IPO). We aim to submit the listing application by October,” he said, adding that the IPO size would probably be around RM150mil. 

NasionCom executive director Shamsul Khalid Ismail took up RM9mil worth of RCCPS, giving him 24.32% equity interest in the company. The balance was taken up by Commerce Technology Ventures Sdn Bhd (RM7mil) and Mayban Venture Capital Co Sdn Bhd (RM5mil). 

“That we have two of the country's most reputable venture capitalists willing to invest in the company speaks volumes about where NasionCom is heading. We have a strong management team and the necessary technology expertise. God willing, we'll progress very far,” said Shamsul. 

Before the RCCPS issue, Vital Electronics Sdn Bhd, controlled by Chee, held 70% stake in NasionCom. The balance 30% was held by locally-managed Luxemborg Pan Asia Special Opportunities Fund. 

“With the equity funding boost, we can take on bigger business activities. However, we'll still be concentrating on telephony voice and last-mile broadband connectivity,” Shamsul said. 

NasionCom has to date invested about RM57mil in telecoms assets. With the added funding, the company will be enhancing its voice and data platform, improving its billing system and backroom operations to enable customised services and cross marketing and promotion activities, as well as stepping up its brand-building exercises. 

“We spent about RM2mil on advertising and promotion (A&P) last year but for the last six months, we've not really been advertising. Now, we're pushing back our A&P to enhance our branding and increase market share,” Shamsul said. 

He said there was huge potential in the telecommunications market, especially with the convergence of voice and data. Many applications, such as telemedicine, video-conferencing, video-on-demand and other interactive multimedia, need broadband connectivity. 

Voice services, riding on Voice over Internet Protocol technology, currently contribute about 70% to NasionCom revenue and is expected to drop to 60% with the rollout of its wireless broadband services into more areas.  

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