TM takes 'small' stake in India's Idea

26 Jun 2008

Telkom Malaysia unit TM International will pick up around a fifth of Indian mobile operator Idea Cellular, bolstering its presence in the world's fastest-growing mobile market, after a takeover of a smaller Indian firm in which it held a stake, a Reuters report said.

Idea, India's fifth-largest mobile operator, said it will buy a 40.8 % stake in smaller rival Spice Telecom for 21.76 billion rupees ($508 million), the report added.

TM International's 39.2% stake in Spice will be converted into Idea shares, and it will pay 72.9 billion rupees for a preferential allotment of 14.99 %.

India's mobile market is the world's second-largest after China and foreign firms are keen to enter the market.

Last year, Vodafone paid $11 billion for a controlling stake in the No. 3 cellular operator.

'We have a 39.2% stake in a company which population of 80 million. Now we will have an around 20% stake in a company which has 700 million,' Yusof Annuar Yaacob, group chief financial officer at TM International, quoted by the Reuters, said.

Idea said TM International would remain a minority partner.

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