Digi-Celcom merger will accelerate Malaysia’s digital aspirations


AXIATA Group Bhd and Digi.Com Bhd are on their way to realising the potential of the proposed merged company (MergeCo), in terms of strengthening the capacity to drive digitalisation in society broadly, for consumers, businesses, the partner ecosystem and for the development of local talent.

Both parties noted that the MergeCo will provide better network quality and coverage as it will be primed to invest in network expansion to support growing demand for data and digitalisation.

Read more: Yoodo needs to be sold off on Celcom-Digi merger

“In addition, as societies and businesses increasingly turn to digitalisation for productivity and efficiency gains, the MergeCo will be well-placed to drive 5G solutions; catalyse new growth opportunities for large enterprises and small and medium enterprises; and attract and partner global digital giants in support of Jalinan Digital Negara and MyDigital aspirations.   

“The MergeCo will also leverage on combined economies of scale to deliver benefits to customers through strengthened core distribution, improved network operation, and efficiencies realised from operational activities,” they said in a joint statement today.

Read more: MCMC gives approval for Celcom-Digi merger

In further unlocking the nation’s digital potential, the parties said the MergeCo has proposed to invest up to RM250 million over five years to build a world-class Innovation Centre in Kuala Lumpur to keep Malaysia at the forefront of the global digital evolution.

The innovation centre will be pivotal in advancing extensive research and development leveraging 5G, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technology.  

Additionally, local digital start-ups are also expected to leverage the platform to leapfrog their technology and innovation capabilities.

Axiata chairman Tan Sri Shahril Ridza Ridzuan (picture) said delivering improved network and connectivity for their customers is clearly imperative.

He said as two companies with a strong track record in contributing towards nation-building, both parties are excited about the digital inclusion and growth opportunities which the MergeCo and the proposed innovation centre will catalyse.

“We look forward to playing an active role in encouraging national competitiveness through the provision of world-class connectivity and research platforms, while also supporting the nation’s entrepreneurs and digital talents in the race to confidently position Malaysia for growth in the digital economy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Digi’s chair of the board of directors Haakon Bruaset Kjoel said both companies will now focus on completing the remaining necessary steps to conclude this transaction and work on delivering a seamless integration programme to bring the vision and value of the merged entity to reality.

He noted that together, Celcom Axiata Bhd and Digi will bring better innovations to meet their customers’ growing digital needs and for all participating in the digital economy to capture new growth opportunities in a fast-changing world.

Telenor Asia executive VP and head Jorgen Arentz Rostrup commented that both parties have reached a positive milestone in the Malaysian merger process with the regulatory clearance from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

“With the proposed structural moves in Thailand and Malaysia, Telenor has a clear ambition to create future-fit companies that can better support ambitious national digital aspirations and bring new, advanced services to consumers across the region,” he said.

Earlier this morning, Axiata and Digi announced that they received a notice of no objection from MCMC to proceed with the proposed merger of their telecommunication company operations.

This was after a substantive assessment of the proposed merger application and due consideration of Axiata’s and Digi’s response to MCMC’s Statement of Issues in April 2022.

The completion of the proposed merger will now be subject to the approval from the Securities Commission, Bursa Malaysia Bhd, Axiata and Digi shareholders and fulfilment of other customary terms and conditions.

The proposed merger is expected to be completed within the second half of this year.

Upon completion, Axiata and Telenor will hold equal ownership of 33.1% each in the newly merged company, which will be named Celcom Digi Bhd, and will continue to be listed on Bursa Malaysia.

At 12.29pm today, Digi’s shares were up by 15 sen or 4.62% to RM3.40, valuing the company at RM26.44 billion.

Axiata’s shares rose by 14 sen or 4.98% to RM2.95, valuing the company at RM27.07 billion.