Millicom may sell Sri Lankan, Cambodian units to Malaysia’s Axiata

8 Jul 2009

Axiata, the Malaysian owned mobile group formerly known as TM International, is considering offering a total of USD700 million for the Sri Lankan and Cambodian operations of Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular. Lanka Business Online reports that in Sri Lanka, the group’s Tigo-branded GSM network operating unit could receive a takeover bid worth USD200 million from Axiata, which already owns the island’s cellular market leader by subscribers, Dialog Telekom. Meanwhile, Bloomberg cited two people with knowledge of the deal as saying that Millicom’s market-leading Cambodian subsidiary CamGSM (Mobitel, offering pre-paid services as Cellcard) may be offered USD500 million by Axiata, which owns the country’s fourth-placed cellco Telekom Malaysia International Cambodia. Millicom chief financial officer Francois-Xavier Roger was quoted as saying that the group is considering selling Sri Lankan operations separately or together with the business in Cambodia and potentially Laos. Axiata declined to confirm or deny the talks, but said ‘in-country consolidation is of strategic importance in some of our markets.’ CommsUpdate reported in May that Egyptian group Orascom Telecom was looking at the possibility of merging its Bangladeshi mobile unit Banglalink with Axiata’s local subsidiary AKTEL to create a rival to market leader Grameenphone. Millicom has appointed Goldman Sachs to handle the sale of its Asian operations, and said last week it had received several expressions of interest.

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