Malaysia’s Maxis to Announce Partner for Indonesian Unit

KUALA LUMPUR ~ Malaysia’s top mobile operator Maxis Communications will announce a partner for its Indonesian unit PT Natrindo Telepon Seluler in a few weeks, state media said.

Maxis chief executive Jamaludin Ibrahim also said the firm would release its capital expenditure for PT Natrindo after announcing the new partner, the Bernama news agency reported.

“We will be announcing it (the partner) shortly in a couple of weeks,” Jamaludin was quoted as saying.

Maxis has said it is evaluating potential strategic partners to help develop the Indonesian mobile firm, including an accelerated rollout of its network.

Maxis bought 51 percent of PT Natrindo in 2005 and last month raised its interest to 95 percent.

The Malaysian mobile operator has been the subject of intense speculation after tycoon Ananda Krishnan last week announced plans to privatize the company in a US$4.79 billion.

Analysts are keen to find out Maxis’ capital expenditure plans for its operations in Indonesia, as well as India, where it owns 74 percent of mobile operator Aircel, as that was the reason cited for Ananda’s plans.

Binariang GSM, the vehicle used for the exercise, said Maxis planned to make substantial investments to expand overseas and by taking full control, would have greater flexibility to manage its capital expenditure.

Binariang is aiming to acquire 41 percent of Maxis, or 1.037 billion shares not already owned by Ananda and his associates.

At an offer price of 15.60 ringgit ($4.56) per Maxis share or a total of 16.4 billion ringgit, the privatization has been hailed as Malaysia’s largest buyout deal.

Jamaludin also said this week that Maxis was maintaining plans to spend 3 billion ringgit over the next five years on its operations in Malaysia and India.

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