Singtel gets SGX approval to list NetLink Trust

Singtel is one step closer to the mega listing of its fibre broadband network provider NetLink Trust on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), having received the conditional go-ahead from the bourse operator.

The telco announced yesterday that the SGX has issued the conditional eligibility-to-list letter for NetLink Trust, its wholly-owned associate, in relation to its upcoming initial public offering (IPO).

The IPO is said to be looking at raising at least $2 billion - which would make the listing one of the largest here in years.

The listing will be subject to factors such as market conditions, the relevant regulatory and other approvals being obtained, and the execution of definitive agreements by the relevant parties, said Singtel.

NetLink Trust designs, builds, owns and operates the passive infrastructure for Singapore's Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NextGen NBN).

Under the Info-communications Media Development Authority's (IMDA) structural separation requirements for the NextGen NBN, Singtel does not have effective control of NetLink Trust. Singtel had said in February that it was preparing to take NetLink Trust public, and that it planned to sell its stake in the firm to below 25 per cent by April 22 next year.

Singtel has appointed DBS Bank, Morgan Stanley and UBS to advise on the share sale. A Bloomberg report last month, citing unnamed sources, said NetLink Trust is aiming to complete the IPO by July.

In the three months ended Dec 31, NetLink Trust's net profit contribution surged 42 per cent to $32 million, on a 12 per cent jump in operating revenue from increased fibre penetration in Singapore. It has 79 per cent of the residential wired-broadband market.

Overall, Singtel posted a 2 per cent rise in net profit to $972.8 million for the third quarter, despite intense competition in India and Australia, and investments in content and network expansion. A favourable currency-translation impact of $16 million also helped lift the bottom line.

Excluding exceptional items, underlying net profit was up 4.2 per cent at $994 million.

Singtel shares closed 0.3 per cent or one cent higher at $3.81 yesterday, before the announcement was made.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2017, with the headline Singtel gets SGX approval to list NetLink Trust. Subscribe