Telstra mulling Asian investment options?

18 Mar 2004

Australian operator Telstra is rumoured to be looking at a number of possible investment options in the Asia-Pacific telecoms market, with Malaysia’s biggest mobile operator Maxis said to be at the top of its list. Although neither company will confirm the speculation at this stage, it is believed that Telstra is considering a bid of around USD1.2 billion for a 20% stake in Maxis, a move which would give the Australian telco its first foothold in the Malaysian market. Recent local press reports have suggested that Maxis is considering making a bid for management control of one of its rivals in the Malaysian mobile market, DiGi.Com, which is currently majority owned by Norwegian operator Telenor.

Another possible investment option for Telstra is Indonesia’s third-largest mobile operator Excelcomindo, with the Australian telco rumoured to be one of several overseas companies lining up a bid for a stake in the Jakarta-based cellco. Excelcomindo currently has around two million subscribers and a market share of almost 20%. Excelcomindo is currently owned by Telekomindo Primabhakti (60%), Nynex Indocel Holdings – formerly Bell Atlantic (23.1%), The Asian Infrastructure Fund (12.7%) and Mitsui & Co (4.2%).