Possible listing sends Axiata shares up

KUALA LUMPUR • Axiata Group rose the most in more than two years after people with knowledge said Malaysia's biggest wireless carrier is considering an initial public offering of its tower unit that could raise at least US$500 million (S$663 million).

Shares of Axiata climbed as much as 6.6 per cent yesterday, the most since August 2015. They ended up 4.2 per cent to RM5.69.

Axiata has been speaking to potential advisers to explore a domestic listing of Edotco Group that could take place as soon as this year, according to the people with knowledge of the matter.

"Listing Edotco is positive for Axiata, as it would unlock value for the group," Mr Ang Kok Heng, chief investment officer at Phillip Capital Management, said yesterday. "It would also help to ease Axiata's debt burden, as Edotco will be able raise funds on its own to expand its operations."

Edotco raised US$700 million in a private placement last year from investors includingsovereign fund Khazanah Nasional and government-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan, according to an April statement.

Malaysia's second-biggest pension fund, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan, also invested in Edotco through the deal, which reduced Axiata's stake to 62.4 per cent.

Edotco was started in 2012. It owns more than 26,000 towers spread across Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan and Myanmar.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2018, with the headline 'Possible listing sends Axiata shares up'. Print Edition | Subscribe