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Axiata Announces Completion of Bangladesh’s First Telecoms Merger with Bharti Airtel

2016-11-16

Kuala Lumpur, 16 November 2016 – Axiata Group Berhad (“Axiata”) and Bharti Airtel Limited (“Bharti”), today announced the completion of the merger exercise of their respective telecommunication subsidiaries in Bangladesh; namely, Robi Axiata Limited (“Robi”) and Airtel Bangladesh Limited (“Airtel”).

In completing the first telecoms merger in Bangladesh, Axiata now holds 68.7% controlling stake in the combined entity, while Bharti holds 25%. The remaining 6.3% continues to be held by the existing shareholder, NTT DOCOMO of Japan.

The combined entity will operate as Robi Axiata Limited and will serve approximately 32.2 million subscribers. The joint strengths of Robi and Airtel sets the stage to deliver the widest mobile network coverage across Bangladesh, enhancing its stronghold in the mobile internet segment as well as consolidating its position as the second largest operator in the country.

Towards long-term growth of the Bangladesh telecoms industry

Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer of Robi said, “We are pleased to have reached the completion phase of the merger with Airtel. We are grateful and offer our utmost appreciation for the support of several parties, particularly our shareholders, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, and as well as Robi and Airtel consumers, all of which made this merger possible”.

“The merger strengthens the long-term sustainability of the Bangladesh telecoms landscape and business environment, and will secure faster nationwide rollout of mobile broadband as well as contribute significantly to the overall economy of the country. Our work now as a combined entity will be focused towards providing our 32.2 million subscribers an unparalleled portfolio of innovative mobile and broadband offerings at affordable rates.”

Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President & Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata said, “Axiata’s proven track record of successful strategic mergers and integrations in our other markets such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Cambodia has qualified the Group to lead the first telecoms merger and initiate market consolidation in Bangladesh.

“In-country consolidation has been one of the Group’s key focus in solidifying our position, unlocking profitability and opportunities of the market as well as ensuring better services to customers and the public. As a committed investor with over two decades of presence in Bangladesh, Axiata fully supports Robi’s continued efforts on nation building especially in bridging the digital divide and to achieve the Digital Bangladesh aspiration. We are confident this consolidation will secure the country’s further development not only within the telecommunications industry but also act as further impetus to fuel a more mature business and investment environment in Bangladesh.”

The completion follows the 28 January 2016 announcement of both parties entering into an exclusive discussion to explore possibility of combining the business operations in Bangladesh.

The merger was completed following the fulfilment of the condition precedents to the Agreement and filing of the Merger Filing with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms of Bangladesh Court today.

 

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About Axiata Group Berhad
As one of the largest Asian telecommunication companies, Axiata today operates in ten countries, servicing approximately 300 million subscribers. With a diverse portfolio in mobile network operations, communications infrastructure services and digital services, the Group pieces together the best in connectivity, technology and people in its vision of Advancing Asia.

Axiata has controlling stakes in market leading mobile operators in South East Asia and South Asia. Axiata Group of companies operate under the brand name of ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia and 'Ncell' in Nepal. Further to this, the Group also holds strategic interests in ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in Singapore.

‘edotco’, the Group’s infrastructure company, operates in six countries to deliver telecommunications infrastructure services, amassing a portfolio of over 16,000 towers and 12,000 km of fibre. It aims to be one of the top regional tower companies and is committed to responsible and sustainable business operations.

Axiata Digital (AD), its digital services arm, captures the rapid growth in internet-based businesses through its portfolio of 24 digital brands, servicing growing demands in mobile money, mobile adverting, e-commerce, entertainment and education.

As a committed and long-term investor, Axiata provides employment to 25,000 people within its operations. In line with its sustainability goals, the Group actively supports and drives young talent development; disaster response and recovery; as well as green initiatives.