Friday April 3, 2009

TMI unveils new name but limits itself to Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: TM International Bhd, which has launched new name Axiata Group Bhd with a tagline Advancing Asia, ironically announced that it is limiting its expansion within Asia.

President and group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim said this was its strength as it knew the region well.

“We don’t want to pretend that we know the countries outside Asia. One of the decisions we made after the de-merger is that we are going to be focused,” he said after the launch of the new name and logo yesterday.

The company has operations in 10 Asian countries with a total population of 1.5 billion but it has only 90 million subscribers in these markets.

From left:Axiata Group Bhd chairman Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and president and group chief executive officer Datuk Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim unveiling its new corporate name and logo.

Chairman Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar pointed out that Asia would keep the group very busy for some time.

Jamaludin said given the current economic situation, Axiata was in the process of reducing its capital expenditure further from the current RM4.5bil.

The figure stood at RM5.4bil previously. “We’re doing exactly that and we know that we won’t go beyond RM4.5bil,” he said.

In terms of operating expenditure (opex), Jamaludin said a more coordinated effort was being made for its big-ticket items.

“The operating companies are looking at reducing the opex. At the group level, however, we want to have a more coordinated approach for big-ticket items, especially those that we can replicate.

“One of the items we have identified is the roll-out costs. So if we can come out with a more efficient way of doing that, we can replicate it in all the countries,” he said. “We probably have four or five big-ticket items from the group perspective.”

Axiata is also looking at benchmarking itself.

“We have engaged consultants to help benchmark us against some of the best in the region, and even outside the region, so that we know where we stand. Benchmarking does not say it all, but it is a good starting point,” Jamaludin said.

He said Axiata expected to launch 3G services in India, potentially this year, and in Bangladesh and Cambodia within two years.

On acquisition plans, he said the company was taking a cautious approach with no target in the pipeline yet.

Meanwhile, Jamaludin said Axiata’s new identity signified its presence as a key regional player in the mobile telecommunications market.

“The expenditure for this new branding is only an incremental increase of RM5mil to RM10mil. The total group advertising and promotion budget is RM560mil, so the amount is negligible,” he said.

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