Malaysian telecoms group Axiata is reportedly seeking to reduce its holdings in a number of subsidiaries in deals which could generate as much as USD700 million, Bloomberg claims, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the report, Axiata is said to be seeking to divest 11% in Indonesian operator PT XL Axiata, while it could also look to sell as much as a 30% stake in each of Sri Lanka’s Dialog Axiata and Cambodian unit Smart Axiata. Part of the proceeds from any share sale is likely to be used reduce Axiata’s borrowing, the report adds, noting that total debt at the Malaysia-based group has risen by 55% since the end of 2014 to reach MYR21.5 billion (USD5.2 billion) as at end-June 2016.
In response to the claims, Axiata issued a press release in which it said it ‘wishes to clarify that it continuously reviews various strategic options to enhance shareholders’ value’. As such, the company confirmed that since the middle of last year it has been ‘exploring options to further optimise its balance sheet and group structure, potentially including, but not limited to, the portfolio rebalancing and review of shareholding across subsidiaries’. It was keen, however, to stress that, while it would make any necessary disclosures should any transactions be undertaken, for now, it said, ‘any such reports are speculative’.