Axiata finalising definitive deal on merger with Digi


AXIATA Group Bhd is in the middle of finalising the definitive agreement for the possible merger of the group with Bhd.

Axiata president and group CEO Datuk Mohd Izzaddin Idris (picture) said both parties have completed the due diligence and will sign the definitive agreement soon.

“We are hopeful to be able to sign the definitive agreement shortly. That could be a day or two or it could be a week depending on the resolution of some issues,” he said during the virtual press briefing after the group’s 29th AGM yesterday.

Although no definite timeline was given for the signing of the agreement, Mohd Izzaddin said it would be done within this month ahead of the deadline which is on June 30, 2021.

During the AGM, he said shareholders were “upbeat” for the proposed merger and questions were raised regarding the quality of service for the merged entity as well as its offerings for consumers.

On April 8, Axiata and Telenor Asia Pte Ltd announced that they are in advanced discussions on the potential merger of Celcom and Digi which will be known as Celcom Digi Bhd or MergeCo.

Both telecommunication companies will have an equal stake of about 33.1% each in the merged entity, while Axiata together with local institutional funds will own over 51% of MergeCo.

It would have a combined 19.1 million customers and total revenue of RM12.4 billion.

The exercise is expected to complete latest by the first quarter of 2022 (1Q22).

As for its digital banking venture with RHB Banking Group Bhd, Mohd Izzaddin said the group is on track to submit the draft before the deadline on June 30, 2021.

“The targeted date of submission is before June 30, as prescribed by Bank Negara Malaysia.

“The draft submission is ready and we are just going to convene the relevant board meetings to approve the submission,” he said.

Earlier this month, Axiata, via its subsidiary Boost Holdings Bhd and RHB, signed a comprehensive head of agreement to form a consortium to apply for a digital banking license under the framework issued by the central bank.

Meanwhile, during the AGM, the company’s shareholders acknowledged the group’s efforts to drive next-level performance and growth through disciplined execution in delivering its “Next Generation Digital Champion” ambition by 2024.

All 12 resolutions that were tabled during the meeting were also passed.

Mohd Izzaddin added Axiata’s infrastructure business is geared towards expansion, both in-market and into new territories, as edotco Group3 accelerates towards becoming a much larger and efficient tower company. The group is constantly evaluating options to raise fresh capital to enable the realisation of the goals, he said.

“Today we stand at a very exciting juncture that will define Axiata in years to come. Guided by our Axiata 5.0 Vision to enhance resilience and advance towards our ambition of becoming The Next Generation Digital Champion by 2024, our internal constructs are elevated to facilitate greater agility as well as heighten scale and group synergy.

Axiata’s chairman Tan Sri Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid said amid the pandemic, the board is committed to do its best to help Malaysia and the region leapfrog into adopting IR4.0 and seize opportunities that come with new technologies and global partnerships.

“In furthering our commitment as a socially responsible organisation, the board is heartened that Axiata will accelerate its climate action journey by embarking on the development of its Net-Zero Carbon Roadmap. Our sustained efforts in this space has resulted in Axiata’s MSCI ESG Rating of ‘A’.

“In line with the robust performance in 2020, Axiata paid a full-year total dividend of seven sen per ordinary share, which includes an interim dividend of two sen per ordinary share declared for the financial period ended 30 June 2020.”