Singapore / Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s biggest mobile phone operator,Maxis Communications Bhd, plans to raise $2 billion (Rs9,540 crore) in a public offering later this year, underscoring the revival of Asian initial public offerings (IPOs) as equity markets rebound.
The offering, which could be the biggest in Malaysia since 1995, comes just two years after Maxis was taken private by its reclusive billionaire owner, Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan, who owns telecom assets in India and Indonesia.
Two people familiar with the development told Reuters that Maxis has chosen Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and CIMB to advise it on a listing in Kuala Lumpur. Under Bursa Malaysia rules, a company needs to sell a minimum 25% stake to list on the stock exchange.
“It will create some sort of excitement because it was the darling of investors then and it had substantial foreign shareholdings too,” Abdul Jalil Rasheed, equities chief at Aberdeen Asset Management’s Malaysia unit said on Wednesday .
The move comes after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak last month asked Maxis to relist on Bursa Malaysia to boost liquidity and draw in investors to South-East Asia’s most laggard stock market so far this year.
Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and CIMB declined to comment on the share sale plans. The sources declined to be identified because details of the deal are not public.
“There is no announcement at this point. An announcement will be made at the appropriate time,” Catherine Leong, Maxis’ head of public relations, told Reuters when asked for a comment.
IPOs have sprung back to life in booming markets in Asia, led by China after new share offerings to a halt last year due to the meltdown in markets.
Some analysts said Maxis could be looking to raise money as it seeks to fund capital expenditure required by its 74% owned Indian unit, Aircel Ltd.
“With such huge capex (capital expenditure), perhaps Maxis has found itself geared to the limit and needs to turn to capital markets for funds,” investment bank ECM Libra said in a research note.
Maxis said in March it was planning to invest $5 billion in the next three-five years to accelerate Aircel’s cellular coverage expansion in India.