Axiata receives approval to list Robi in Bangladesh

by ASILA JALIL / pic by TMR FILE

AXIATA Group Bhd has received the approval to list its unit, Robi Axiata Ltd, in Bangladesh.

In a Bursa filing yesterday, the group said the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) had approved the proposed IPO and listing of Robi.

“Further details will be announced upon the receipt by Robi of the approval letter by BSEC,” it said.

In February, the group announced its plans to list Robi, which it owns by 68.7%, on the Dhaka Stock Exchange Ltd and the Chittagong Stock Exchange Ltd in Bangladesh.

Under the IPO, Robi will issue 523.79 million new shares as the group aims to raise RM255.2 million.

The number of shares represents 10% of Robi’s enlarged share capital post-listing, which will also dilute Axiata’s shares in Robi by 6.87% to 61.82%.

However, Axiata will continue to be Robi’s controlling shareholder after the IPO.

The group had previously stated the proceeds would be used for network expansion in the South Asian nation.

Axiata’s net profit for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020, dropped 63.7% to RM80.02 million from RM220.56 million due to lower top lines, higher depreciation and amortisation and lower one-off gains.

Revenue dropped 5.9% to RM5.79 billion from RM6.15 billion dragged by a drop in revenue for the entire group’s operating companies amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

It also declared a dividend of two sen per share.

According to a news report by Bloomberg, Robi’s IPO is the biggest in Bangladesh since energy firm MJL Bangladesh Ltd sold shares in 2010.

Robi is the second-largest mobile network operator in Bangladesh by subscribers amounting to 49 million as of end December 2019.

It began operations in 1997 under the name Aktel before changing its brand name to Axiata (Bangladesh) in 2009. It then changed its name to Robi Axiata in 2010.

Axiata’s share price closed 2.29% or seven sen lower at RM2.99 yesterday, valuing the company at RM27.42 billion.