Axiata to buy Pakistan telecom towers firm for $940m

Tower firms in Asia have been expanding by buying infrastructure from carriers. (Reuters)
Updated 30 August 2017
0

Axiata to buy Pakistan telecom towers firm for $940m

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian telecommunications firm Axiata Group’s infrastructure unit is buying telecom towers in Pakistan for $940 million in partnership with a local conglomerate, in what will be one of the biggest deals in the South Asian nation.
Axiata subsidiary Edotco Group Sdn Bhd and its Pakistani partner Dawood Hercules Corp. will acquire Deodar, the tower unit of Pakistan Mobile Communications, which will add more than 13,000 towers to its portfolio.
The purchase will see Edotco emerge as the world’s eighth-largest independent tower firm and the second-largest multi-country tower operator, with a portfolio of about 40,000 towers across six countries.
Tower firms in Asia have been expanding by buying tower infrastructure from carriers, who, in many cases, are aiming to cut debt and focus on their core business.
“The acquisition of Deodar is a critical part of our growth strategy and ambition to position Edotco as the leading independent telecommunications infrastructure services provider in Asia,” Edotco CEO Suresh Sidhu said in a statement on Wednesday.
Sidhu told a media conference later that the acquisition, Edotco’s biggest, is part of its strategy to focus on assets in South and Southeast Asia, according to the recording of the conference reviewed by Reuters.
The deal, expected to be completed in the fourth quarter, would rank as one of Pakistan’s five biggest deals, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Edotco has previously said it aimed to become Pakistan’s largest independent tower firm. In June, it bought Pakistan’s Tanzanite Tower Pte for $90 million in a deal involving about 700 towers.
Axiata owns 62.4 percent of Edotco, which in recent months raised $700 million from Malaysia’s $28 billion Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), sovereign wealth fund Khazanah and Innovation Network Corp. of Japan.
The acquisition of the Deodar towers unit will be funded using $600 million raised via debt and the remainder via equity and is expected to immediately add to Axiata’s earnings, according to the statement.


Amazon workers strike as ‘Prime’ shopping frenzy hits

Updated 16 July 2019
0

Amazon workers strike as ‘Prime’ shopping frenzy hits

  • The protesters waves signs with messages along the lines of “We’re human, not robots”
  • The strike was part of an ongoing effort to pressure the company on issues including job safety, equal opportunity in the workplace, and concrete action on issues including climate change

SAN FRANCISCO: Amazon workers walked out of a main distribution center in Minnesota on Monday, protesting for improved working conditions during the e-commerce titan’s major “Prime” shopping event.
Amazon workers picketed outside the facility, briefly delaying a few trucks and waving signs with messages along the lines of “We’re human, not robots.”
“We know Prime Day is a big day for Amazon, so we hope this strike will help executives understand how serious we are about wanting real change that will uplift the workers in Amazon’s warehouses,” striker Safiyo Mohamed said in a release.
“We create a lot of wealth for Amazon, but they aren’t treating us with the respect and dignity that we deserve.”
Organizers did not disclose the number of strikers, who said employees picketed for about an hour in intense heat before cutting the protest short due to the onset of heavy rain.
The strike was part of an ongoing effort to pressure the company on issues including job safety, equal opportunity in the workplace, and concrete action on issues including climate change, according to community organization Awood Center.
US Democratic presidential contenders Kamila Harris and Bernie Sanders were among those who expressed support for the strikers on Twitter.
“I stand in solidarity with the courageous Amazon workers engaging in a work stoppage against unconscionable working conditions in their warehouses,” Sanders said in a tweet.
“It is not too much to ask that a company owned by the wealthiest person in the world treat its workers with dignity and respect.”
Amazon employees also went on strike at seven locations in Germany, demanding better wages as the US online retail giant launched its two-day global shopping discount extravaganza called Prime Day.
Amazon had said in advance that the strike would not affect deliveries to customers.
Amazon has consistently defended work conditions, contending it is a leader when it comes to paying workers at least $15 hourly and providing benefits.
The company last week announced plans to offer job training to around one-third of its US workforce to help them gain skills to adapt to new technologies.
Amazon has been hustling to offer one-day deliver on a wider array of products as a perk for paying $119 annually to be a member of its “Prime” service, which includes streaming films and television shows.
The work action came on the opening day of a major “Prime” shopping event started in 2015.
Now in 17 countries, the event will span Monday and Tuesday, highlighted by a pre-recorded Taylor Swift video concert and promotions across a range of products and services from the e-commerce leader.
Prime Day sales for Amazon are expected to hit $5 billion this year, up from $3.2 billion in 2018, which at the time represented its biggest ever global shopping event, JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth says in a research note.