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Telenor, Axiata enter talks to merge Asian businesses

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Oslo, Norway   /   Mon, May 6, 2019   /   02:34 pm
Telenor, Axiata enter talks to merge Asian businesses A pedestrian uses his smartphone while walking on a sidewalk in Jakarta on February 28, 2019, past an advertisement for one of Indonesia's top three mobile operators, XL Axiata. (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)

Norwegian telecom operator Telenor said Monday it has entered into talks with Malaysian telecoms group Axiata about a potential merger of the companies' Asian operations.

The deal would see the two companies combine their telecom and infrastructure assets into a new company, of which Telenor would own 56.5 percent and Axiata the remaining 43.5 percent, Telenor said in a statement, adding that these figures were subject to change.

According to Telenor, which operates in the Nordic nations as well as Eastern Europe and Asia, the combined businesses would have close 300 million customers in nine different countries, making it one of the largest mobile infrastructure companies operating in Asia.

Telenor said it wants the new company to take an "active role in accelerating technology transformation and digitalisation" across Asia.

"Together, we aim to create a leading and well-diversified pan-Asian telecom and infrastructure company with substantial synergy potential and strong regional operations," Gunn Waersted, chair of Telenor Group, said in a statement.

Telenor currently operates in Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar, while Axiata has operating companies in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, however Axiata's mobile business in Bangladesh, Robi, would be excluded from the deal and independently managed by Axiata.

The two companies hope the agreement, which needs both regulatory and shareholder approval, can be finalised within the third quarter of this year.

The new company would have its operational headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and was planned to be listed on an international stock exchange as well as on Bursa Malaysia.

Axiata's share price rose 2.3 percent following the announcement on Monday.