SingTel – BT

Telkomsel tower deal still being worked out: SingTel

THE US$1.2 billion deal to sell its stake in some 9,000 telecommunications towers in Indonesia to local operator PT Telekomunikasi (Telkom) is still being worked out and it’s too early to comment on the sale, says Singapore Telecommunications.

‘As shareholders of Telkomsel, both Telkom and SingTel conduct regular reviews of Telkomsel’s business operations and its future directions. One of the on-going discussions focuses on Telkomsel’s tower assets. It is too premature to comment on the subject,’ a SingTel spokesperson said.

The company was responding to Telkom’s comments in a Reuters report that it was looking to close the deal by the end of this year.

In April, Indonesia’s largest telco appointed the Australian Macquarie Group as its adviser to the deal. Earlier this year, the operator also said that it would borrow around US$400 million to finance the transaction.

The towers in question belong to SingTel’s Indonesian associate Telkomsel. Telkom has a 65 per cent stake in Telkomsel and the Singaporean operator holds the remaining 35 per cent interest.

Local authorities frown upon foreign ownership of critical telecommunications infrastructure. As a result of SingTel’s stake in Telkomsel, Telkom is looking to transfer the ownership of these towers to a wholly owned subsidiary called PT Dayamitra Telekomunikasi, or Mitratel.

In a separate announcement, SingTel said that its Australia subsidiary Optus’ HK$1 billion (S$180 million), 10-year note issue will carry an annual coupon of 3.825 per cent per annum and mature on June 10, 2020.

The notes, distributed to institutional investors, come under Optus’ two billion euro (S$3.4 billion) Medium Term Note programme announced in July 2009.

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