OCK in talks to buy telco towers


  • Business
  • Saturday, 30 Jun 2012

OCK Group Bhd, which is en route for listing on Bursa Malaysia's Ace Market, is “in discussions” to acquire mobile telecommunications towers and lease them back to mobile telecommunications service providers.

Named after its group managing director and founder Sam Ooi Chin Khoon, the company has been in operations since 2000.

The group obtained its Network Facility Provider (NFP) licence from the Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commissions which enables it to build, own and rent out telecommunications towers .

“This is the trend going forward. The telecommunications industry is going towards infra sharing... The best model is to share current telecommunication sites and lease from third party like us. This enables us to build long term recurring income,” Ooi tells StarBizWeek.

When asked on the acquisitions, he says: “Not yet. We're still in discussions to buy the towers from mobile players.” Each mobile telecommunication tower is estimated to cost between RM200,000 and RM300,000.

He says the company currently derives the bulk of its income from providing telecommunications network services.

It aims to focus on building a recurring income model by providing network operation and maintenance works. “The NFP licence allows us to own stations and collect rents.”

Ooi says the company is well-known within the industry as it has been in the business since 2000.

It is one of the largest telecommunications service providers in Malaysia in terms of revenue.

It clients includes the three dominant mobile players Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi.Com and Maxis Bhd. It also works with Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and ZTE.

OCK also aims to grow its business in neighbouring countries. It is also going into the renewable energy industry to build its income stream.

“Basically, we don't want to stay in Malaysia (all the time) although most players know OCK. We don't have a presence in Vietnam, Myanmar and Bangladesh. We want to explore business opportunities there,” he says.

“We want to do something outside Malaysia. The listing will help to raise our profile,” Ooi says.

OCK has started project trials in Vietnam for optimisation and drive test services for 3G cellular networks.

Ooi says the local telecommunication industry continues to provide tremendous growth potential for OCK. He explains that telecommunication players are constantly investing to upgrade their network quality, coverage and capacity to cater to their customers' needs. Spending by these players provide tremendous potential for OCK.

He says the current interest surrounding the migration to long term evolution or 4G, would result in upgrading of networks by telcos.

“It will take a while for the full deployment of 4G just like how 3G entered the scene. 4G is already coming in before the 3G coverage is available nationwide,” Ooi says.

The capital expenditure by telecommunication operators to upgrade their respective network would provide jobs for OCK.

On its green energy business, OCK hopes to eventually set up its own solar farm.

“Right now, we are tendering for a project from Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd,” he says, adding that the project is located in Sepang.

Ooi says OCK provides technology solutions in green energy which enable the company to have recurring income.

The company has started incorporating its solar power technology to its telecommunication infrastructure. In terms of its financial performance, OCK has managed to grow its revenue year-on-year since the financial year ended Dec 31, 2008 (FY08).

Its revenue grew to RM66.8mil in FY10 from RM45.6mil in FY08. In the first six months of FY11, OCK's net profit rose to RM5.2mil on revenue of RM41.2mil.

OCK is expected to be listed on the Ace Market on July 17.

The company is expected to raise RM27mil from its initial public offering, which involves the issuance of 75 million new shares at an issue price of 36 sen each.

Some 58.5 million new shares would be offered to institutional and selected investors, seven million new shares to the public and the remaining 9.5 million units to eligible employees and persons of the group.

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