Axiata drafts new strategy and wants to sell stake in units

Malaysia’s Axiata, as per a revised strategy, has initiated talks to offload stakes in units and will not look for a group-level deal, Reuters reported.
Dialog Axiata Sri LankaEarlier, Axiata had dropped its merger proposal with Norway’s Telenor. The main aim of the merger with Telenor was to create Southeast Asia’s largest telecoms operator with more than 300 million mobile subscribers.

Axiata and Telenor dropped merger plans last month citing unspecified complexities. Primary objection from the Malaysian side was that Telenor would have had majority control of the combined telecom operator.

Axiata is majority-owned by sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional and other state-linked funds. Axiata operates in nine countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Axiata has received an informal offer from Nigeria’s IHS Towers for a stake in its telecoms tower firm edotco Group. An initial public offering (IPO) for edotco is not the top priority for Axiata at present.

Axiata also wants to sell a stake in 66.4 percent-owned Indonesian unit PT XL Axiata. It has received a serious and credible offer from Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison Holdings.

Axiata does not want to cede majority control because XL holds the second-largest share of the mobile phone network market in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

Axiata has already exited from Idea Cellular, one of the leading telecom operators in India. Idea Cellular combined its telecom business with Vodafone Group of the UK.