Saturday September 15, 2012
RAM: Binariang selling Aircel not necessarily ‘the best move’
By DANIEL KHOO
KUALA LUMPUR: Binariang GSM Sdn Bhd's move to possibly hive away its stake in India-based Aircel Communications, in which Maxis Communications owns 74%, is not necessarily “the best move,” says RAM Rating Services Bhd's analyst Lee Chai Len.
“There are many other ways to do it actually. What I understand is that its recent corporate moves are to address its financials but selling (Aircel) is not the only way to go about it,” Lee told StarBizWeek.
The India-based Economic Times had reported yesterday that T. Ananda Krishnan had held talks with Russian-based telecomms company Sistema with the intention to sell its 74% stake in Aircel.
Ananda and his local partner, the Reddys of the Apollo Hospital Group, wanted to quit India's telecom sector, which was mired in controversies, the paper reported citing sources whom are close to the matter.
Sources told the Indian paper that Ananda was discussing a Sistema proposal that could value the mobile operator at about RM18.3bil (US$6bil) but added that there was no certainty that these talks would lead to an actual deal.
This could mark a major shake-out in India's scam-hit telecom industry which had seen business valuations collapse after a controversy erupted on 2G spectrum allocations two years ago, it said.
RAM had earlier in the week said in a report that it was closely monitoring the progress of Binariang's corporate restructuring exercise to decouple Aircel.
“We have been informed that the group is in consultation with its advisors to determine and implement an optimal structure to satisfy this objective,” the RAM report stated.
Binariang is an investment holdings company with subsidiaries and affiliates that are involved in the Malaysian, Indian and Indonesian cellular telecommunications sectors through Maxis, Aircel and PT Axis Telekom Indonesia respectively.
RAM said that it understood that the corporate exercise, which had initially been slated for completion by Sept 12, was targeted to be completed within the next few months once there was further clarity on the new telecom policy and other regulators/policy changes in India that could impact the transaction.