Singtel to delist from Aussie stock exchange, citing low trading volume

SINGAPORE - Singtel, the owner of Australia's second-largest telco Optus, has requested approval to delist from the Australian Securities Exchange due to low trading volume, liquidity and market demand.

In a statement to the Singapore Exchange on Tuesday morning, SingTel said it has formally requested that its listed securities, in the form of CHESS Depositary Interests (CDIs), be removed from ASX.

Singtel, which is a component stock of the Straits Times Index (STI), said it will continue to be listed on the SGX and trading will not be disrupted during the delisting process from the ASX.

The telco also said its Australian operations - Optus - will not be affected by the proposed delisting.

Optus has been on the ASX with its Singapore parent company since 2001 when Singtel bought a majority stake from owner Cable & Wireless.

"Daily trading volumes and liquidity of Singtel CDIs on the ASX are very low," Singtel said in its statement. "During the twelve months to 31 March 2015, the number of Singtel CDIs traded on the ASX accounted for only 6 per cent of all Singtel shares traded.

"This reflects institutional investors' preference to hold and trade Singtel shares on its home exchange, the SGX."

The company said all government approvals required had been obtained and that the move would occur from May. It also said the move would not affect its Australian strategy and investments.

"Since its acquisition of Singtel Optus Pty Limited (Optus), Singtel has invested over A$13 billion in building infrastructure and improving communication services in Australia," the statement said.

"There will be no change in Singtel's business strategy as it remains committed to growing and investing in its Australian business."

If the delisting is approved, CDI holders will be able to either convert their Singtel CDIs into Singtel shares listed on SGX on a 1:1 basis or sell their interests in SingTel shares on the exchange through company-arranged sale facilities.

Trading in SingTel CDIs is expected to be suspended from the close of trade on May 29. Removal of SingTel CDIs from the official list of the ASX is expected to occur on June 5.

The Australian newspaper, reporting on the Singtel announcement, said that a rival telco is shaping up to overtake Optus as Australia's second largest internet provider. Last month, TPG Telecom moved to secure full ownership of iiNet, launching an A$8.60 per share bid that values the company at a total A$1.4 billion.

Singtel shares in Singapore closed down 5 cents at $4.41 on Monday.