U Mobile IPO depends on Singapore shareholders

U Mobile has more than 6m subscribers and the numbers are growing following an aggressive marketing campaign

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by ARIF KARTONO

BERJAYA Corp Bhd (BCorp) still plans to list its telecommunications arm, U Mobile Sdn Bhd, but any decision will primarily depend on its telecommunications shareholders — including those from Singapore.

BCorp CEO Datuk Seri Robin Tan Yeong Ching said the timeline for the corporate exercise will largely depend on the shareholders.

“We still want to…but it can only happen when all the partners in U Mobile, including (those) in Singapore, give the green light,” he said at the signing ceremony of a certificate of collaboration between the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Top Glove Corp Bhd, Tropicana Corp Bhd, Naza Group and BCorp in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Last year, BCorp founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun said he is mulling to pursue a capital raising exercise through an initial public offering (IPO) for U Mobile, latest by 2020.

The plan was announced alongside his other plans — which are taking convenience store chain operator 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd and property and hotel business Berjaya Land Bhd private, while listing the latter in Singapore Exchange Ltd.

U Mobile is the country’s fourthlargest mobile cellular service provider. Its investors have poured in more than RM5 billion over the years and any listing could happen if the valuation exceeds the amount that had been invested into the company.

It was reported that U Mobile has more than six million subscribers and the numbers are growing following an aggressive marketing campaign.

Straits Mobile Investments Pte Ltd is the largest shareholder in U Mobile. Launched in 2007, U Mobile has eaten into the market share of the Big Three in the industry and has been spending to improve its coverage.

However, a U Mobile listing would be difficult as the local capital market continues to be depressed amid the absence of major IPOs for capital raising.

On a separate note, MoE deputy secretary general for strategic planning Datuk Kamel Mohamad said the ruling to establish a commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) will be presented to the Cabinet at the end of this month.

“The Cabinet has agreed to review the proposal to establish a commission specifically for TVET that will empower the training programme and (it is) to be chaired by the education minister.

“The committee which looks at TVET empowerment is still doing its job as the minister will be presenting the findings and memorandum to the Cabinet by the end of this month,” he said.

However, he said at present, the party who will be in charge of coordinating the commission — which will involve several ministries — has yet to be decided.