Mar 30, 2023
Axiata Set for Strategic Review to Revamp $18 Billion Portfolio
(Bloomberg) -- Axiata Group Bhd., Malaysia’s biggest wireless company by revenue, is exploring a strategic review of its businesses with total assets of about 81.6 billion ringgit ($18.4 billion), according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The company, backed by Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd., is talking to advisers to come up with a plan to streamline its operations and raise funds to pare debt, the people said. Options include spinning off or selling assets outside of Malaysia, said the people, asking not to be identified as the process is private.
Shares of Axiata have fallen 2.6% in the year to date in Kuala Lumpur, giving it a market value of about $6.3 billion.
Considerations are at an early stage and there is no certainty that Axiata will proceed with any deal, the people said. A representative for Axiata declined to comment.
A potential review comes as Axiata sets sights on focusing on digital telecom, businesses and infrastructure, moving away from holding purely mobile assets. The telecom giant last year completed the merger of its mobile unit Celcom Axiata Bhd. with Telenor ASA’s Digi Telecommunications Sdn.
Founded in 2008, Axiata has 150 million subscribers for its services across Southeast Asia and Pakistan, according to its website. The company’s total assets were worth about 81.6 billion ringgit at the end of 2022, while its total debt was about 36 billion ringgit.
Its interests in mobile operators outside of Malaysia include PT XL Axiata and PT Link Net in Indonesia, Dialog Axiata Plc in Sri Lanka, Robi Axiata Ltd. in Bangladesh, Smart Axiata Co. in Cambodia and Ncell Axiata Ltd. in Nepal. It also has a controlling stake in Edotco Group Sdn., a wireless tower business as well as stakes in firms involved in digital financial services and artificial intelligence.
Separately, Edotco has shortlisted bidders for a stake sale that could raise as much as $750 million, Bloomberg News has reported.
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