Singtel to lift stakes in AIS, Airtel

Singtel has confirmed it has arranged to indirectly increase its stake in Thai mobile affiliate AIS, and revealed it will also increase its share in India's Bharti Airtel.

The operator announced it has entered a conditional agreement to acquire 21% of Thai operator AIS' largest shareholder Intouch Holdings from Singtel's majority shareholder Temasek Holdings, confirming reports from earlier in the week.

Intouch is AIS' largest shareholder with a roughly 40% stake, while Singtel owns a 23% stake in AIS.

Singtel has meanwhile also agreed to acquire a 7.39% stake in Bharti Airtel's holding company Bharti Telecom, adding to the 39.78% it already owns.

The acquisitions have a total value of S$2.47 billion ($1.84 billion). Singtel will pay cash, and fund the acquisition through a combination of internal cash, short-term debt and proceeds from a S$1.6 billion placement of new Singtel shares to Temasek. The deal still requires shareholder and regulatory approvals.

“Singtel has been a strategic partner to both AIS and Airtel for more than 15 years. We have built deep and trusted relationships, worked well together through the years, sharing knowledge and expertise and we have grown together, from strength to strength,” Singtel Group CEO Chu Sock Koong said.

“Today, they have a combined mobile customer base of more than 380 million across Asia and Africa. This is a unique opportunity for us to deepen our relationships with two great market leaders.”


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