Report says XL Axiata, Smartfren owners exploring options including merger

8 Oct 2021

Bloomberg reports that Malaysia-based Axiata Group and Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas Group are exploring options that could include a merger of their telecoms operations in Indonesia, citing anonymous sources ‘with knowledge of the matter’ who claimed that the respective owners of Indonesian cellcos XL Axiata and Smart Telecom (Smartfren) are working with advisers to study options which could also include network sharing agreements. In response to a Bloomberg query, Smartfren’s president Merza Fachys neither confirmed nor denied the development, saying: ‘Smartfren is open to consolidate or collaborate with other industry players aiming for operational efficiency. However, all parties must get the same benefits.’ XL Axiata president Dian Siswarini was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that XL has always been open to various possibilities to ‘consolidate with any party’.

The report follows last month’s merger deal between Ooredoo Group and CK Hutchison Holdings to combine their respective Indonesian mobile units Indosat Ooredoo and Hutchison 3 Indonesia (Tri), creating a new company Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison which will operate as the archipelago’s second largest mobile network operator behind state-backed Telkomsel.

Indonesia, Axiata, Smart Telecom (Smartfren), XL Axiata