Axiata looking to sell off overseas holdings to raise funds

Malaysian operator group Axiata is attempting to raise up to $700 million by divesting some of its overseas holdings in Cambodia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

The group is aiming to offload around 11% of its 66.4% holding in Indonesian operator PT XL Axiata, which is valued at around $2.2 billion. It is also looking to shift a 30% stake in Cambodian operator Smart Axiata – of which it currently holds 95.3% - as well as a 30% stake in Sri Lanka’s Dialog Axiata, of which it currently holds 83.3%.

Axiata saw its net profits drop significantly last month as subscribers abandoned its two largest regional subsidiaries, Celcom and XL, with revenues falling accordingly. Meanwhile, its debt has soared 55% between the close of 2014 and June this year to reach MYR21.5 billion ($5.2 billion).

Divesting its holdings would allow Axiata to raise funds to reduce its borrowings. The group has also been considering measures such as rebalancing its portfolio and reviewing its shareholdings. Its most recent acquisition – an 80% stake in Nepali operator Ncell - was closed in April for $1.4 billion.

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