Axiata and Telenor may merge Asian operations

UPDATE: Axiata has just announced that they are in discussion to form a new global champion with Telenor Group.

Axiata Group Berhad and Digi.com have suspended trading today pending a release of a material announcement. This sparks speculation that a merger between two telecommunications group is on the cards.

According to a The Edge Markets’ source, the Malaysian-based Axiata Group Bhd and Telenor Group from Norway are in talks to merge their Asian operation. This could possibly strengthen the position of the two groups in the region where it can improve economies of scale and share investment burden and high cost.

It was reported by TheStar, that AmInvestment Research expects Telenor to have majority stake in the merger of operations with Axiata. This is due to its larger EBITDA and earnings base. Axiata’s President and Group CEO, Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim is expected to make an announcement at 4pm today.

At the moment, Axiata operates Celcom in Malaysia, Dialog in Sri Lanka, Ncell in Nepal, XL Axiata in Indonesia, Smart in Cambodia and Robi in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Telenor has a presence in Malaysia with Digi and in Thailand with dtac. In addition, the Norwegian group is also operating in Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

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Alexander Wong