Axiata may plan $500m tower IPO next year

Dylan Bushell-Embling
27 Aug 2013

Malaysia's Axiata is reportedly planning to float its telecom tower assets in an IPO worth at least $500 million.

The operator has engaged firms including Goldman Sachs to prepare the IPO, which it plans to conduct in its home market next year, sources toldBloomberg.

Axiata was in June rumored to be in talks with India's Idea Cellular over a plan to create a Southeast Asian tower company. At the time, Axiata was reportedly eager to either acquire or merge with Idea's tower assets.

The IPO could potentially be the first stage of the SEA tower company plan – besides Axiata's domestic towers, the company has tower assets in six other countries, including 7,000 in Indonesia alone.

Idea Cellular meanwhile has around 8,000 towers and a stake in JV Indus Towers, which operates another 11,000 for Idea, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone. Idea has also previously been forced to call off its own planned tower IPO.

Axiata is separately considering making an offer to acquire Indonesia's Axis Telecom and merging it with Indian subsidiary XL Axiata.

Indonesia's communications minister recently gave in-principal initial approval to a merger, reasoning that although it would increase Axiata's market power, cutting down on the number of operators serving Indonesia's overcrowded mobile market would ultimately be good for competition.

At present, 14 operators are providing mobile services in Indonesia.

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