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Axiata Accepts the M1 Offer, Exits Non-Strategic Investment to Realise RM1.65 billion in Cash at Premium

2019-02-15

Group to utilise proceeds to optimise its capital allocations and balance sheet to support existing operations, capitalise on the momentum of its operational successes, as well as, support its organic and inorganic investments into new growth areas
 
Kuala Lumpur, 15 February 2019 – Axiata Group Berhad (“Axiata” or “the Group”) via its wholly-owned subsidiary, Axiata Investments (Singapore) Limited  has accepted the voluntary conditional general offer (the “Offer”) by Konnectivity Pte. Ltd, for the Group’s entire stake in M1 Limited (“M1” or the “Company”) for a total cash consideration of approximately RM1.65 billion at the offer premium price of SGD2.06 based on terms stipulated in the Offer documents dated 7 January 2019. The Group will effectively divest its 28.7 percent stake in M1 and exit its investment in Singapore with an estimated gain of RM126.5 million from this deal.
 
Axiata’s investment in M1 commenced in 2005 and the Company had steadily contributed to the Group’s growth over the years with dividends amounting to RM1.1 billion in the last 10 years. Over that period, it had generated very healthy dividend yields of approximately seven percent over the years.
 
Given the financial returns as well as its strategic benefits, Axiata has expressed its satisfaction with its M1 investment.  The Group also believes in the long-term future of the company despite the short-term industry challenges with the new entrant into the market. Axiata has been consistent in its view that the share price over the last year does not reflect the intrinsic value of the company’s long-term future. 
 
Nevertheless, Axiata has made the decision to accept the Offer due to the need for capital reallocation and new priorities in line with its vision to be the Next Generation Digital Champion by 2022 and the investments required to achieve that. The Group also prefers not to be a minority investor in a potentially privatised company, making the investment illiquid. 
 
Over the last many years, all of Axiata’s operating companies (“OpCos”) in the region have outperformed the market, in terms of revenue market share; some having done so significantly. The Group’s OpCos are in the top two largest mobile company positions in their respective markets, with many of them being best performing companies in most financial metrics. 
 
As such and given the achievements in their markets, continued investments will be required to capitalise on the current momentum. This is in addition to supporting the transformation of all of Axiata’s mobile-centric OpCos into digital converged companies over the next few years, while at the same time, continuing to provide moderate dividends to its shareholders. 
 
These investments include the modernisation of the Group’s IT and network infrastructure, digitisation of its operations across all functions and investments into new growth areas especially in Home and Enterprise segments, and to a smaller extent, its digital businesses. 
 
Axiata also expects to participate in industry consolidation if opportunities arise, and possible acquisitions in new growth areas over the mid- and long-term in some of its footprint countries. 
 
Commentary
Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President & Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata said, “It is actually not an easy decision for us. We like our investment in M1 and believe in its long-term future. At the same time, we need to undertake a major reprioritisation and make better use of our capital to chart a new chapter for the Group in line with our new vision whilst also further enhancing our shareholders’ value”.
 
“I thank all our fellow shareholders, partners, management and staff of M1 for contributing to the success of the company and for all the collaborations with Axiata over a decade.”
 
“I also wish Keppel Corporation Limited and Singapore Press Holdings Limited the best of luck in the new phase of growth and the new chapter for M1”. 
 
-Ends-
 
About Axiata
 
As one of the leading telecommunications groups in Asia in pursuit of its vision to be the New Generation Digital Champion by 2022, Axiata Group Berhad (“Axiata” or The Group) has transformed itself from a holding entity with a portfolio of pure-play mobile assets into a Triple Core Strategy driven business focusing on Digital Telco, Digital Businesses and Infrastructure.
 
Within ASEAN and South Asia, Axiata has controlling stakes in market-leading mobile and fixed operators in the region including ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia and 'Ncell' in Nepal. Axiata is actively spearheading efforts to transform its mobile operations into Digital Telcos through digitisation and convergence. 
 
Axiata Digital and Axiata Business Services are the digital business arms of the Group. Together, these businesses are focused on capturing the rapid growth in digital financial services (‘Boost’), digital advertising (‘ada’), enterprise solutions/IoT (‘Xpand’) and platform services (‘APIgate’) in the global market.
 
‘edotco’, the Group’s infrastructure company, operates in six countries to deliver telecommunications infrastructure services, amassing approximately 27,500 towers. Presently the 12th largest independent tower companies globally, it aims to be one of the top regional telecommunications tower companies and is committed to responsible and sustainable business operations.
 
As a committed and long-term investor, and in line with its sustainability goals, the Group actively supports and drives young talent development; disaster response and recovery; as well as green initiatives. Axiata’s broader goal Advancing Asia pieces together the best in the region in terms of innovation, connectivity and talent.