Axiata to buy Pakistan telecom towers firm for $940m

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

Axiata to buy Pakistan telecom towers firm for $940m

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.


Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%

Updated 03 December 2020

Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%

Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%
  • The rate of economic growth reached about 1.8 percent — less than the population growth rate
  • A plan to control population increase will begin in January 2021

CAIRO: The volume of public investment in Egypt grew by 70 percent in the 2020/2021 fiscal year, reaching 595 billion Egyptian pounds ($37.9 billion), Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Saeed has said.

In a speech at the Egypt Economic Summit 2020, she said that Egypt could become one of only three economies across the Middle East to achieve economic growth this year.

The growth followed reforms that helped make the Egyptian economy “more flexible” and “able to absorb external shocks,” she said.

Al-Saeed said Egypt faced great challenges that led to imbalances in the monetary, financial and external axes, which caused a decline in Egyptian economic indicators. The rate of economic growth reached about 1.8 percent — less than the population growth rate.

The minister added that a plan to control population increase will begin in January 2021, as Egypt’s population is expected to grow by 2.5 million annually and reach 130 million in 2030.

Al-Saeed said that achieving development requires sustained economic progress to overcome weak population growth and the challenges facing the Egyptian economy in light of political and economic changes and the coronavirus pandemic.

The challenge helped Egypt commit to reforms based on comprehensive planning and an ambitious vision for the future, in the form of Egypt’s Vision 2030 sustainable development strategy, the minister said.

Egypt’s implementation of reforms since November 2016 led to “overall stability” and “comprehensive growth.” This was reflected in positive indicators that the Egyptian economy saw before the coronavirus outbreak, she added.

The rate of economic growth was about 5.6 percent in the first half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year, and about 5 percent during the third quarter. There was an average growth of 5.4 percent in the first nine months of the year, before the coronavirus outbreak.

Al-Saeed said that international institutions had “positive expectations” regarding the Egyptian economy.

She referred to the results of the World Economic Outlook report issued by the International Monetary Fund in October 2020, in which the Fund raised its expectations for Egypt’s gross domestic product growth to 3.5 percent for the year, compared with a previous forecast of 2 percent in the June report.

If the prediction is realized, it will make Egypt among only three economies in the Middle East and Central Asia to achieve economic growth this year.