edotco in talks for more tower acquisitions over next 12 months

Malaysian telecoms firm Axiata Group Bhd’s (AXIA.KL) tower unit is working on acquisition deals that it aims to complete in the next 12 months to boost its infrastructure portfolio, the company’s chief executive officer said.

Suresh Sidhu, chief executive officer of edotco Group Sdn Bhd, told Reuters on Friday he was optimistic that two to three deals could materialize in the company’s existing markets where the sector has developed.

edotco, 62.4-percent owned by Axiata, currently operates and manages a regional portfolio of more than 28,000 towers in Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“The priority is to look at the current footprint we are in and look for opportunities to bulk up and add more towers there,” Sidhu said. “Again, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh are countries of higher interest to us.”

On Tuesday, the telecommunications infrastructure company canceled a $940 million deal to acquire 13,000 towers from a unit of Pakistan Mobile Communications Ltd (PMCL) as regulators failed to provide all approvals for the transaction to go through.

The deal, in works for more than a year, was expected to propel the company to the eighth spot among largest independent tower firms globally.

Sidhu was unfazed by the Pakistani deal being scrapped, noting that the other deals combined, if sealed, could provide similar growth.

The deals under discussion could add around the same number of towers to its portfolio as the scrapped Pakistani deal would have, the company said. It did not give a value for the acquisitions under discussion.

Sidhu said there was no urgency to raise funds to fuel acquisitions, as the company still has $200 million in cash reserves from the $700 million it raised in 2016 and last year from shareholders.


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