Axiata sells stake in Cambodian unit for RM285mil

President & Group CEO Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim during the Axiata Financial Results Media Briefing

KUALA LUMPUR: Telecommunication company Axiata Group Bhd’s unit, Axiata Investments (Cambodia) Ltd, is selling a 10% stake in Axiata (Cambodia) Holdings Ltd to Mitsui Co Ltd and its affiliate, M & Y Asia Telecom Holdings Pte Ltd for US$66mil (RM285.2mil).

Axiata (Cambodia) Holdings Ltd is the holding company of Smart Axiata Co Ltd.

In a statement, Axiata said post-transaction, it would hold a 82.5% stake in Smart Axiata.

“Under the agreement, Axiata granted Mitsui a call option to acquire an additional 10% interest, exercisable within 12 months from the completion of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close by end-May 2017,” said Axiata.

It said the deal met the group’s portfolio management strategy and brought financial value for Axiata and its shareholders, with the proceeds intended for general corporate purposes and repayment of existing debt in its balance sheet.

“For Axiata, the minority stake sale helps it to re-balance its group’s portfolio while retaining a majority control in Smart. The transaction also unlocks value for Axiata shareholders through healthy returns on its investments in Smart and contributes to enhancing Axiata’s balance sheet position,” it said.

Axiata president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim said the strategic partnership with Mitsui would also support the growth efforts of Smart, particularly in the areas of digital services and Internet-of-things and its vision of becoming a new generation digital champion.

He said with Mitsui in the fold, Smart was in a position to offer enhanced digital services that would leapfrog Cambodia’s digital economy.

“We look forward to leveraging on synergies from this strategic partnership. As a long-term investor with a diverse portfolio in the region, we continuously review various options to optimise our capital allocation, balance sheet and group structure which includes a potential adoption of strategic partners to support the growth efforts,” he added.

Jamaludin said Axiata remained committed to maintaining its majority stake in Smart.

“It is a company that has consistently outperformed its competitors with its clear customer proposition, innovative product solutions and effective cost controls,” he added. - Bernama

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