Axiata Group, Malaysia’s biggest wireless carrier by revenue, has a number of potential strategies under review to reduce its debt.
Axiata’s debt was estimated at 36.7 billion ringgit (US$7.9 billion) at the end of March compared to some 25.7 billion ringgit (US$ 5.5 billion) at the end of 2019. The Bloomberg news service suggests that this growth is due to overseas expansion last year, including buying telecom towers in the Philippines and a broadband and cable TV provider in Indonesia.
Now Chief Executive Officer Vivek Sood has said in an interview with Bloomberg that his company plans to sell stakes in some of its businesses and list its technology units to reduce some of the debt related to this overseas expansion.
A stake sale in its wireless tower unit Edotco Group is one of the options cited by the CEO. In addition, PT Link Net in Indonesia, an established provider of cable television and high speed broadband internet services, is being refocused as a fixed broadband infrastructure company; a stake sale may follow. Mobile operator PT XL Axiata is likely to be positioned as a converged mobile, fixed and content service provider, according to Sood.
He also touched on last year’s merger of Celcom Axiata and Digi Telecommunications, saying that in Malaysia, Axiata will focus on combining the operations of the two companies (now known as CelcomDigi) to “extract synergies” after completing the merger last December.
Founded in 2008, Axiata has 150 million subscribers for its services across Southeast Asia and Pakistan.